New York Rangers vs the Buffalo Springfield

As told to me by Pat Hickey, New York Rangers forward, 1979: “Being a child of the 60s, I had to find my own path to freedom, which, in my case, meant getting out of Brantford. Some people did it by playing the piano or the guitar; others did it on hockey skates. Rock and roll proved to young people that you could see the world and have fun doing it. I studied the words to “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” to see what was in there and what I could learn from it. One of my English teachers spent a month teaching us the inside and outside of “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield, and by the time I made pro, I followed Neil Young and Jackson Browne and the way they sang about politics, love, divorce, everything. When I was drafted by New York, I saw the city as a way of extending this sense of discovery because so much was happening there every hour of the day. I went to galleries, saw plays, concerts, a little bit of everything. I remember going to see “Man of La Mancha” on the Wednesday matinee after the morning skate and thinking, ‘Man, these singers, actors, dancers, musicians are working it. They’re prepared, they’re into it.’ Three hours later, I got to stand in front of 17, 000 people and do my thing. The way I viewed it, the rink was my stage and the fans were my audience. The following year, I was eating in a restaurant when a fellow came up and asked if I’d like to join his table, where Margeaux and Muriel Hemingway were sitting. Of course, I accepted, and during dinner, I invited them to come and see me play. They were all giddy and excited about it. The next night, I remember going out for warm up and skating hard across the rink– I always liked to hit the ice fast– and seeing the two of them sitting right across from me. That night, I scored two goals and two assists, and realized that maybe having someone famous in the crowd was what I needed to give me that extra boost. Billy Joel was the person I brought in the most. I’d sneak him into the corporate box. His song “Sleeping with the TV on” is about his relationship with me and Mike McEwen and the Rangers. One time, he asked me what a hockey player’s routine was, and I told him: ‘Our job is to go back to the hotel room, get off your feet, lay down, and fall asleep with the tv on.’ I’d never thought of hockey as poetry before, but all you have to do is see it from the other side to know that it is.”

2 thoughts on “New York Rangers vs the Buffalo Springfield

  1. I can’t stand sappy nationalism, especially when hockey is the grist for the mill. Which is why I love the depth and surprises in your hockey writing. And so when a parallel between music and hockey is drawn as being part of societal change, I’m game. I’ll spend my day reading and thinking about Pat Hickey. Thanks, DB. Loren


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