Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Another story from the glory days

Bob Gainey, the curmudgeonly Montreal Canadiens legend/GM/coach, made the occasional visit to Kamloops to watch his son Steve play.

Steve was a solid winger with the WHL Blazers and as personable as they come. He enjoyed the opportunity to talk about his team and never once shied away from the tape recorder.

It sometimes was a daunting task, wondering if the 17- or 18-year-old I asked to interview would be able to express himself ... nay, had the confidence to do so.

'Twas my rookie year in the Loops and Scott Cruikshank, now of the Calgary Herald Flames beat, was penning for the Kamloops Daily News.

One night he says to me, 'you know, Bob is here and he loves to talk about Steve.'

Sweet! Beyond a brief moment with Don Hay, it was my first brush with NHLness during a hockey-writing career that started out with a glorified rec league in Newfoundland.

So I scope him out on the other side of the press box at what was then known as Riverside Coliseum.

Anyone who is familiar with Bob also knows he doesn't smile much. Perma-frown.

In this instance, I sensed it was more of a glare.

'Hi, Bob, I'm Angela with Kamloops This Week. Do you have a minute?'

'Not really. I'm trying to watch the game.'

'Oh, I just wanted to ask you a few questions about Steve.'

'Stephen is capable of speaking about himself.'

With my tail tucked firmly between my legs, I made my way back to our side of the press box, where upon Cruikshank asked me how it went.

I gave him a Gainey glare and he started laughing.

'Welcome to Kamloops.'

I believe I had been hazed.

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