December 2, 2019

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Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda (A Missed Rink-Side Seat to Witness Hockey History)

April 3, 2018

“Regrets…I’ve had few, but then again…too few to mention.” Recognize the words? Frank Sinatra made this tune famous decades ago when crooning “My Way.” Since then many others (Elvis included) have tried to match the ability of Sinatra to sentimentalize our lives as we look back at things we might change if we had the chance. 

 

I believe I may be one of the rare birds who can look back on my 57 years and not want to change a thing. I’ve lived a blessed life for sure. Although…..there was that phone call I received 29 years ago. 

 

In 1989 I was the morning host for WYOU radio, which was owned by WABI-TV in Bangor. One morning after spinning my last tune of the show, the front desk transferred an “important call” to my studio phone. An “important call” was distinguished from other more routine calls, most typically a request from a listener complaining that I didn’t play enough so-and-so on my show (I wasn’t big on Slim Whitman, for example. Go figure.)

 

 As it turns out, the important call was opportunity knocking. On the other end of the phone was the U-Maine sports information director, wanting to know if I would be interested in becoming the public address announcer for home University of Maine hockey games. “Hmmm,” I thought to myself. “Might be a pretty cool gig.” 

 

Our boys at the time were in youth hockey; might be cool to have them with me when I was in the announcer box. And yet, hockey games often skated into the late night hours, and my alarm clock went off at 3:30 each morning in order to be ready for the 5:00am opening to my radio show. 

 

And frankly, the Maine Black Bear hockey team wasn’t a “thing” at the time, at least…not the “thing” they would become in just a couple of years when they became the hottest college hockey squad in the country. So, in my effort to maintain my sleeping pattern so I might best present the likes of Crystal Gayle, Kenny Rogers, Alabama and Dick Curless on my morning radio show, I turned the offer down.

   

A few years later during their historic 42-1-2 run in the ’92-’93 season, our two sons who were VERY into hockey at the time, would sneer at me as we were listening or watching Kariya, Montgomery, Snow and Dunham propel the Black Bears to the national title. 

 

“We could have been there!” became the mantra shouted at the most uncool Dad in the universe (Crystal Gayle, Kenny Rogers, Alabama and Dick Curless where not at all cool for teens in the early 90’s, but Maine Hockey? Very cool indeed.)

 

“Regrets…I’ve had few, but then again…too few to mention.” Yet there was a certain phone call back in 1989…..

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