Old Pros – Tales of Hilarity …


I recently purchased a book. Yes – I can read …

The book in question is Brian McFarlane; From the Broadcast Booth. It is a treasure to be able to laugh out loud when a book, any book, sits upon your lap. McFarlane ‘s tales do just that.

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The arrangement of the book is special in itself. McFarlane – in one section, spins stories of the encounters he has had with various hockey folk over the years. That is not unique. If my dog could write ( or spell ), he too would knit yarns of the many sports personalities he met along the way.

What makes Brian’ s pages jump out is the way he introduces legacies. He writes to people like Gretzky ( Walter and Wayne ), in the form of a letter. A personalized thank you note which includes all their accomplishments shrunk into a short but thorough report. All the letters contain interesting facts. Things a hockey fan wants and needs to know.

The most entertaining aspect of McFarlane’s life in broadcasting, are the characters which became accessible through his choice of work. McFarlane devotes an entire section of stories told directly through the mouths of hockey babes.

NHLers – stars and not, career minor leaguers and all types of management types; regurgitate ‘drop -dead laughing out loud’ anecdotes from their colorful pasts .

George ‘ the Chief’ Armstrong, the captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs was once at a party. A fan had asked him to sign a shirt, a stick and several other pieces of memorabilia. So much – Armstrong said to the overzealous fan; ” I bet you would like me to sign your ass as well …!”

Much to Armstrong’s surprise, the fan replied; “Would you?”

The fan turned around and dropped his drawers. Armstrong grabbed a thick black marker and wrote; ‘Johnny Bower’ as big as he could across the Leaf fan’s glutemous maximus.

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This book contains many, many smiles and chuckles. How about the minor leaguer who started a fight with his coach; Gerry McNamara, during the course of a game!

McNamara’s team came to his defence and tossed the player onto the ice. If that was not bad enough, the team received a ‘ too many men on the ice’ penalty for good measure.

McFarlane ‘s book is filled with laughter and heartwarming stories.

Bobby Orr taking him to visit a sick children’s hospital as the Bruins’ star made his weekly pilgrimage. All because McFarlane was having a ‘bad day’. Once the author witnessed the sick and dying children, Orr asked; ” So – how is your day now … ?”

These ‘behind the scenes’ events give the reader an insight into hockey before the days of million dollar contracts. A time when players could be themselves and not have to take ‘press courses’ from the NHL.

It was also a time when a man’s word meant something. Look no further than a passage where McFarlane’s adulation of Dick Irvin Jr. shines through like an old forgotten beacon in an ocean of hockey history. McFarlane was responsible for Irvin’s first job in hockey.

From the Broadcast Booth is a fun read for a hockey or sports fan. Three hundred pages turn as easy as Wilf Paiement Sr. beat up an entire village of lumber workers.

Can you read …? I hope so!

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