Let’s Play Hockey!

Originally posted March 9, 2007

I won’t be posting music today or tomorrow. I had hoped to finish ripping a relative rarity of an LP for today, but I didn’t get that done. And I have company coming tomorrow for an all-day event, so there will be no Saturday single this week, either.

Instead, there will be hockey!

For Christmas 1967, I got one of the best gifts I’ve ever received: a table-top hockey game, you know, one of those with the long metal rods under the “ice,” by which the flesh and blood players control the metal players. It came with metal players for four of the original six teams in the National Hockey League: Boston, Chicago, Detroit and New York (Rangers). The kids across the street had a game, too, a bit smaller, so they donated their Montreal and Toronto players, and the Neighborhood Hockey League was born.

We played regular seasons and playoffs for six years, eventually expanding to fourteen teams and awarding five championships (it took us two years to complete the last season, between 1971 and 1973, when work, college and other interests distracted us). We had a one-day reunion in 1983, got together for four straight years in the later 1980s, and then picked up again three years ago.

And tomorrow, the two pals from my childhood, Rick and Rob, will be here at my house, along with Schultz, a high school pal of Rick’s who joined us along the way. And we’ll play table-top hockey, drink a few beers, eat some chips and dip and laugh a lot.

I’ve never won a Stanley Cup. I don’t expect to do so tomorrow (although it would be nice). Schultz and Rick are the dominant players in our league. But it will be a good day for all of us, one of two days in the year the four of us get together and chew over old times and catch up with news (we also play a Strat-O-Matic baseball tournament in the fall).

I said this wasn’t going to be about music, and peripherally, it isn’t. But as I wrote this, I realized that I have in my collection the fight songs of two of this year’s top college hockey teams, the University of Minnesota and St. Cloud State University, my alma mater.

So call this Fight Song Friday, and pardon the poor sound quality on the SCSU Rouser. I am working on getting a better quality mp3.

University of Minnesota Rouser

St. Cloud State University Rouser

Have good weekends, all, and I’ll be back with a rip of a Minnesota group’s LP from the 1969-1970 era.

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