The Malik Report
by George Malik on 12/07/11 at 06:35 PM ET
Grantland offers something of a strange self-critiquing beast of hoping to establish a higher standard of sports journalism, and today, they’re offering a 21-year-old article by Johnette Howard regarding the “Making of a Goon” named Joey Kocur. It’s a good read, and perhaps these days, it’s an even better read knowing that Kocur ended up winning a Cup with the Rangers in 94, came out of retirement to win 2 more Cups with the Red Wings, worked for the Wings’ coaching staff for a while, and is now both a successful businessman and the president of the Red Wings’ Alumni Association. We need a story about a “goon” with a happy ending right now:
In the beginning, it wasn’t Kocur’s idea to fistfight his way to the NHL. His first fight? He was just fourteen, playing in his first exhibition game with a new team, and an older kid cornered him and dared him to go. He says he was just fifteen when his coach was Gerry James, a sort of Bo Jackson of Canada, who had dual careers with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Blue Bombers. James pulled Kocur aside and told him that if he wanted to make hockey a paying career, he had better start fighting with his fists.
“So I did,” Kocur recalls. “I had about ten penalty minutes in the first twenty games. In the last forty games, I had two hundred fifty.”
But Kocur’s start — his real start — came at age seventeen, the night he knocked out a kid named Bruce Holloway in a Western League game in Kamloops, British Columbia. Not every man can recognize a peek at his destiny when he gets it, and even then, not everyone accepts it. But there was no question in young Joe Kocur’s mind that he had done both after he saw Holloway collapse with a suddenness that was astounding.
Continued, and the article’s worth your time.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.