As told to: Mike DownieAt the start of the 1985-86 season I was with the Minnesota North Stars and they had just brought in a new coach, Lorne Henning. Before the season started Lorne called me into his office and asked me to report back to him on what was going on in the dressing room. Let me tell ya, players keep secrets from their coach – we say terrible things that the coach, or anyone else for that matter, should never hear. I walked out thinking, ‘What the hell, Lorne wants me to be his snitch’.
Well the season gets started and right away my ice time is down, way down. I figured Lorne didn’t like me cause I nailed him in the corner once when I played for the Buffalo Sabres and he was with the Islanders. And he ways probably still pissed that I wasn’t his bitch, I mean snitch.
Sure enough, 11 games into the season he calls me back into his office to tell me – I just got traded to the Rangers. It was the 80’s and I was on my way from the wild of Minnesota to New York City which was also wild – the good kind. I scored in my first 14 consecutive games with my new team, an NHL record. Thank you, Lorne!
The first New York night club I went to was ‘The China Club’ which was a hot spot and just full of celebrities. Now back in those days cocaine was the big drug. I walked into the washroom and there was a lineup to get into a stall and I’m kinda confused – hmm no lineup at the urinal but a big line for the stalls. Anyway standing right in the middle of the line was Julian Lennon! He had that hit song at the time but what really freaked me out was how much he looked like his Dad, John Lennon. It was uncanny. I shouted to him – ‘Hey Jules, how you doing?’ He had no idea who I was but he was friendly, he probably figured I had to be a someone.
Living in New York was great there was always so much going on. One day, my teammate, Jeff Jackson, is walking home and this guy comes up and says – ‘Psst wanna a good deal on a VCR?’ Now back then, VCR’s were a big deal but they were expensive as hell. Anyway this guy has a stack of VCRs in the alley and he sells one to Jeff for $750. Jeff is all nervous cause he knows they’re hot – so he grabs the box and boots it back to his apartment. He opens up the VCR box and there inside, all wrapped up in paper is a rock – a fucking rock! He told the team the story in the dressing room the next day and I laughed so hard I literally fell over. I loved that trade man.
MIKE DOWNIE is the co-creator of ‘Slapshot Diaries’ and an award-winning documentary film-maker.
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