Hockey and the Cold War.

Madison Square Garden, home of the New York Ra...

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One of my neighbors is an older woman from Boston’s Charlestown neighborhood.  She is practically dancing a jig, because the Bruins are advancing in the Stanley Cup Finals.  The first thought that came to my mind was the longtime Bruins goalie Gerry Cheevers.

Let me take you back to January, 1979.  I was a college senior.  The National Hockey All Stars were playing the Soviet Union Red Army team.

My childhood buddy Saul Schlapik and I were going along with his Dad.  You have to understand, Mr. Schlapik’s law firm had seats down on the ice, but for this game, we were sitting upstairs in the blue seats, with the rowdies.  You could already smell the pot smoke.  Mr. Schlapik looked annoyed, Saul and I were used to it.

I must digress though.  For those who haven’t seen my posts about Pratt Institute, my father is a Professor there.  One of his colleagues, who is an adopted uncle for me Professor Piotr Tomasik was visiting for Poland.

For my friend Saul, this was an exhibition game, for me it was a death match.  For Uncle Piotr and his Warsaw colleague Marek Krygowski enjoyed telling me how rotten Communism was (thought I didn’t need help with that, I was a Political Science major at City College of New York.  They were part of the reason I majored in what I did.  One of my Professors was a colleague of Madeline Albright‘s father Josef Korbel.  His name was Dr. Ivo Duchacek.  Then there was Randolph Braham, the department head, a refugee from Romania.  More about Dr. Duchacek in another post).  Uncle Piotr looked @ me along with my father and said “Hopefully, the Red Army team will lose.  Then I got the lecture about how they were really pros.  Well they were playing pros, no worries there, but what did I know?

OK, back to Madison Square Garden.  Oh my God, I sound like Howard Cosell now!  No, it cannot be! 🙂

I left you with the rowdies in the blue seats.  They (along with me) were making noises about Commies and how awful they are.  The National Anthems of the Soviet Union (the Internationale), the United States and Canada were announced.  The red carpet was rolled out to center ice, the booing became louder, until…The woman singing the Soviet anthem came out on the red carpet.  She was drop dead gorgeous.  All the jeering turned to cat calls and wolf whistles lol!  How soon they forget. 🙂

I am sorry to say the Canadian and the United States anthems received pretty short shrift.

Oh yes, on to the game.  An unmitigated disaster as the NHL All Stars lost 6-0.   Gerry Cheevers had way more stitches he had to paint on his mask as he was used for target practice.  I was crushed.  I had to announce the bad news when I got home.  Dad and Uncle Piotr were crushed.  Well, the Soviet Union went down in the end, thanks to President Ronald Reagan, Uncle Piotr’s hero.  I didn’t think that of Mr. Reagan when he was President, but I sure do now.  More about that later.

Also an update to my neighbor Kay.  Sadly, he son Bill died of cancer the morning before Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.  Elaine, who had not cheered for the Bruins since her Senior Year of High School in 1972, the last time the Bruins won the cup.  We cheered as the Bruins won.  We have the Red Sox game on and the Bruins brought the Stanley Cup to Fenway Park.  Several of Elaine’s cousins went to the victory parade that went to Government Center (or to older Bostonians, Scollay Square.  Oh no, a history lesson.  That is for later).

I never thought I would see the day, growing up as a New York Rangers fan, cheering for the Boston Bruins.  At least the Bruins fans had class, while people in Vancouver rioted.  Well not all people, I feel for people in Vancouver for the actions of a few fools.


Here is Dr. Duchacek’s obituary from the New York Times.

About tucsonmike

I am originally from Brooklyn, New York and now live in Tucson, Arizona. I have discovered a passion for writing. I have five books out now, with a sixth on the way. Take a look @ my book list: The Search for Livingstone An Affair of the Heart The Search for Otzi Griffith Justice in Space. Moriarty The Life and Times of a Criminal Genius Available now on Smashwords - Amazon and Barnes and Noble As to not bore my public with just "Buy my book," I am also interested in baseball, the outdoors, art, architecture, technology, the human mind and DNA. I learned Ashkenazi Jews, of which I am one, have to lowest rate of Alzheimer's in the world. Therefore, I treat my brain as a muscle needing a workout. I enjoy good food, flirtation, beautiful women (I am happily married for thirty years), so just flirting ;) I was considered autistic when I was young, trying to figure out if I have a mild form of Aspergers and learning from that. That is for future posts. You can also see I love history. Enjoy my sarcastic silly look at the world, and making History more interesting than a textbook.
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3 Responses to Hockey and the Cold War.

  1. Pingback: Marvin Charton May 1st 1931-April 12th, 2012, Rest in Peace. | I am an Author, I Must Auth

  2. Saul Schlapik says:

    Hey Mike:

    How come you never told me about this? My sister found it & emailed it to me last week. I think you remember the game better than I do, especially the chick who sang the Soviet anthem. What I do remember is that the Ranger fans booed the Islander players but cheered for Guy Lafleur. My reasoning for getting tickets to the 3rd & final game was that I thought the All-Stars would be used to playing together by then. I remember how the All-Stars got clobbered & how upset you were about it.

    I still was impressed with the way the Soviets skated & controlled the puck, which reminded me of the other time I saw them play. It was in early 72 at MSG against the US national team in an Olympic preview. They clobbered the US 11-4. I forget who I went with; it might have been Spunky-Dunky.

    I suppose it didn’t bother me that much because I’ve always been a Commie Pinko & only cared about the Rangers. Maybe it was also my Russian ancestry.

    Hope to hear from you soon,


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