Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Vince Maranto on 08/13/11 at 06:11 PM ET
If I may steal a line or two from Sir Paul, Memory “Lane is in my ears and in my eyes…” These are some of my earliest and favorite Blackhawk memories.
The Program / Bobby Hull
My late Uncle Joe (and Godfather) attended a Hawks game during the 1968 - 1969 season. After the game he brought the program (a 65 page booklet which cost a quarter) to a bar near the old Chicago Stadium, where the players would hang out after the game. He got several Hawks to sign it, including, Phil Esposito (Yeah, we traded him) Stan Mikita, Wayne Maki, Pierre Pilote, Dennis Hull, and Bobby Hull. When The Golden Jet signed the book, he also went through all the pages signing every picture of him to “Vince, Best Wishes”. My uncle bought him a drink, which he of course accepted, and moved on. When it was Bobby’s turn for a round later on, he told the bartender “..and one for my friend Joe” When my uncle left the bar later that evening, Bobby yelled across the bar, “Thanks again for the drink Joe, say hi to your nephew for me.” (Btw, in the back of the program was an ad for the Chicago Basketball Bulls. Seats sold from $2. - $3.50. Court side seats could be purchased for a hefty $5)
It had to be around 1971 ( I was around 13 years old) or so, there was a Grand Opening Celebration at the new Jewel Food Store (Albertson’s for you folks out west). Keith Magnuson was going to be there to sign autographs ,outside, from noon until 1:30. I stood in line with my friend Gary O’Brian. When I got up to Keith, he signed my hockey gloves (Cooper) trying them on first. He talked to me about playing, The Stadium, and being a Hawk. He also signed every picture, card and whatever else that I, and every one else in line had. He spent time talking to every one who attended. I found out later that he stayed an extra 3 hours, until 4:30, until every one was taken care of.
I waited in a real long line (probably around the same time, give or take a year or so ) outside, while it was snowing to get Tony O’s signature. He was sitting in the back of a limo, with the heat blasting, outside some store or strip mall. When it was my turn, I asked if he could sign it to Vince. “Aw geez Vinnie, I can’t” he said, ‘To keep things moving they made me promise to just sign my name.” I thanked him and told him that I had talked my parents into naming my younger brother after him, which made him laugh. It’s funny, when I think about it now, the explanation took longer than it would have taken to write my name.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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