programs from 1974 and ’75. Howie Menard. Marc Dufour. The first hockey players of my youth!
I think at 5 or 6 years old, my sports life in Dundalk was divided into two seasons – baseball and football. There were the Orioles in the summer and the Colts in the fall. And my Pop was involved in Little League baseball and basketball and officiating as well. Other than WWWE professional wrestling and roller derby, which I never got to see live, hockey was where my Pop took me in those days in between.
It was minor league but still good hockey in the old American Hockey League. The orange and black Clippers logo with the salty old sailor was my first love. I have some old pucks in my collection. The AHL was never on television but we managed to get the NBC NHL Game of The Week in 1970s on Channel 8 in Lancaster and sometimes the rabbit ears would allow me to see Peter Puck. When I saw the word “hockey” in the TV Guide it was a rare thing in those days so I tried hard to watch those games.
Hockey was exotic. It moved fast. Because it was never on TV it was something you had to see live to appreciate. And we certainly were not getting any sort of a view through the snow of television rabbit ears in 1975.
Now that I look back on how many failed teams, franchises, names, leagues and ownerships we had in Baltimore during the first 25 years of my life, it really is a “Slapshot” story but also a very sad tale of what our town has missed on the sports buffet over the years.
But beginning in 1973, the area had an NHL team in Landover, Maryland – something that was never going to happen in Baltimore with the construction of the then-Baltimore Civic Center, where the sightlines on seats on the north end of the arena can’t see the goal underneath. This doomed the building in the mid 1960s when Philadelphia, St. Louis, Buffalo and a few others were vying for an NHL expansion franchise.
My Pop never drove a vehicle in his life. We had no way to get to the Capital Centre when I was a boy so going to a Caps game in the 1970s was simply not an option for me.
I should reiterate that my Pop hated Abe Pollin for taking the Baltimore Bullets away to Largo. And then with Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld, they continued to win in this faraway