I remember that night

Growing up in western New York, my favorite team was the Buffalo Sabres. They're still my favorite team. My favorite player was Danny Gare. Not only could the guy put the puck in the net, but he was a feisty cuss, too.

A story at NHL.com recalls a special night for Gare, now working as a TV color analyst for the Columbus Blue Jackets, when he logged a hat trick in the last game of the 1975-76 season to notch his first 50-goal season.

Like most of my hockey-loving buddies, I would pretend to be my favorite player. On the afternoon of that game, I spent an hour in the driveway, pretending to be Gare, firing pucks into the driveway wall. And, of course, I got the three goals needed to hit that plateau.

There's another reason I was a big fan of Gare. After one of my cousins, Suzanne, was diagnosed with leukemia, he visited her several times in the hospital. At first, the visits were part of charity events. Over time, though, he'd stopped by just to say hello to Suzanne.

A few years ago, when Gare was working with the Sabres, I ran into him in Boston. But rather than ask for an autograph, I introduced myself as Suzanne's cousin. He remembered her in an instant. We spoke for a few minutes, remembered those days and how sad we were when leukemia claimed yet another wonderful soul, and went our ways.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who remembers Danny Gare.

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Blogger slegr_71 said...

I remember Danny Gare. He was one of my favorite players back in the late 70's. So much so that I made a ceramic smiley hockey guy in his image. Glad to know that he's a good guy off the ice too.

11:53 PM  
Blogger Puckhound said...

It's funny that most people will remember the French Connection from that time, but it's Danny Gare who was their favorite player.

I think it was just as much his leadership and scrappiness as it was his scoring touch that made him a fan favorite.

Do you still have the ceramic smiley face image? I'd love to see it.

11:21 AM  

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