Custom Search

Pulford’s OT winner in ’67 and a busted television

In 1967, the Stanley Cup finals pitted Montreal against Toronto. Every Leaf fan of that generation has their own special memories of that year and that series.

Fortunately for fans in my part of Canada (just across from Detroit), the games were not blacked out as they usually were when Detroit played at home, as the Red Wings did not make the playoffs that spring.

That said, Dad (a devout Montreal fan) and I, as an equally devoted Leaf supporter, could not be in the same room at the same time as the series unfolded. We were that serious. I doubt we spoke about the series for the entire 12 or so days it was contested. We talked about other things, sure, but not about hockey.

Montreal hammered the Leafs in Game 1 at the Forum; Toronto rebounded with a tremendous effort to win on the road in Game 2, setting up Game 3 of the series back in Toronto. It may have been the best hockey game of the series, back and forth, eventually going into a second overtime. I went to bed after the first overtime because I found it so gut-wrenching to watch. In our small house, my bedroom was only a few feet away from where the TV was, so I could still hear what was going in.

By this time, since I had left, Dad had gravitated back into the TV room, so he could watch alone. He had been listening on French-language radio in another part of the house. We couldn’t be together. A while into the second overtime, listening intently from my bed, I heard the announcer, Bill Hewitt, call a goal, but I wasn’t absolutely certain it was Toronto that scored.

My doubts were quickly erased when I heard my dad move quickly to the TV and kick in the on-off switch. I knew instantly things had not ended well for Montreal. I was thrilled.

I didn’t find out until the next morning on the school bus (I was in Grade 8) that it was actually Bob Pulford who had re-directed a pass past Rogatien Vachon to give the Leafs a hard-fought win. But I knew the Leafs had won, and that was enough.

The Leafs went on to win the Cup in 6 games. As all hockey fans know, it was the last time Toronto won the Cup and the last time Toronto beat Montreal in a playoff series. For their part, Montreal won the Stanley Cup 8 times between then and 1979 (10 times if you go back to 1965). I felt badly for Dad in 1967, but he lived until 1985, so he had plenty of opportunities to lick his wounds from that series!

No comments:

Post a Comment