Keeping Score: Mr. Hockey, lunch is served

  • Springfield Indians’ defensemen Dave Amadio, Dale Rolfe, Jim Holdaway and Gary Young pose for a photo on the boards of the Big E Coliseum in 1964. Photo courtesy of Springfield Hockey Heritage society

Friday, August 04, 2017

Good morning!

Eddie Shore’s No. 2 hangs from the TD Garden, but his legacy lives in Springfield. Shore lived in Agawam and died at Mercy Hospital in Springfield when he was 82-years-old. After a 13-year career and four MVP trophies in Boston, he bought the Springfield Indians, where he played three seasons, scored 10 goals and racked up 145 penalty minutes.

In his book, “Eddie Shore and That Old Time Hockey,” author C. Michael Hiam wrote that Shore invested his entire life savings and mortgaged his Alberta farm to buy the franchise. Before closing the deal, Shore bought a 55-cent ticket into the cheap seats to watch his prospective hockey team. When a reporter spotted him and asked if he was Mr. Hockey, Shore replied, “I guess I do look a bit like him, but I’m glad I’m not. The things I read about Eddie Shore, he must be a bastard.”

Later, Shore said it was the team’s fans that had most impressed him. “They hollered, they screamed like maniacs at everything the Indians did, even little things like poke checking and putting an elbow in somebody’s face.”

Seven years ago, brothers Steve and Lou Bordeaux decided to perpetuate the spirit of pro hockey in Springfield. With the help of Shore’s son Ted, and the enthusiasm of Springfield Republican columnist Garry Brown, they founded the Springfield Hockey Heritage Association. “We’re hoping to set up an exhibit using some of the memorabilia we have, and some from other people,” they told Brown. “We know there’s other collectors out there.”

It worked. Memorabilia was donated, former players agreed to return and next Saturday the SHHA will be hosting its seventh annual Hockeyday in Springfield. The catered luncheon will be inside the Clark Building on the Big E fairgrounds and will include Springfield Indians/Kings/Falcons alumni.

“We sent invitations to 93 former players and 17 or 18 are coming back,” said Steve Bordeaux. “We take care of their hotels and take them out to dinner, and we’ll have a golf outing for them at Tekoa Country Club in Westfield.”

Bordeaux owns Steve’s Sports in West Springfield and his business specializes in high-quality printing and embroidery. “We’ll charge wholesale for Indians T-shirts and apparel. It helps spread the word about old-time hockey in Springfield.”

Tickets are $22 but must be purchased in advance. To buy and become a member, call 413-746-1696 or go online at hockeyspringfield.org.

The UMass athletic department has shown the door to its most recent sports information director. Molly O’Mara was hired two years ago by athletic director Ryan Bamford, the incoming hotshot from Georgia Tech. Because John Sinnett already had the job and accompanying contract, Bamford created a new position for O’Mara: Associate Director of Athletics for Communications and Public Relations.

That clunky title enabled O’Mara to push Sinnett aside and be the primary media contact for football. Sinnett was shuffled off to cover tennis, women’s basketball and the like, but according to massopenbooks.org their annual salaries were only $100 apart. O’Mara was making $75,656 and Sinnett was making $75,556.

A 2004 UMass grad, O’Mara had previously worked in athletic offices at Arizona, Arkansas, and Texas Tech. From this vantage, it was her imperious attitude that helped wear out her welcome in Amherst.

The winner is Sinnett, who returns to the football beat and has one less boss breathing down his neck.

The 14th annual Sgt. Gregory Belanger Memorial Dinner is Aug. 26 at the South Deerfield Polish Club. Belanger grew up in Deerfield and captained the Frontier Regional School wrestling team. In 1999, he joined the Army Reserves and was called to action after the 9/11 attacks.

He served in the 325th Military Intelligence Battalion and was stationed in Hillah, Iraq. On Aug. 27, 2003, he volunteered for a convoy and was killed by a roadside bomb.

The event in his name has helped raise money for scholarships and veterans organizations. This year organizers are asking friends to buy gift cards (Big Y, Stop & Shop, CVS) that will be donated to veterans.

The festivities will include a buffet, dessert and dozens of raffle prizes. For more information call Kathy Belanger at 413-774-7300.

SOX OF A DIFFERENT COLOR: Chris Sale was 14-3 a year ago for the White Sox and this year he’s 13-4 for the Red Sox. Last year, he was suspended for cutting up $12,700 worth of throwback uniforms and this year he’s been quiet, cooperative and responsible. It’s hard to reconcile the two Sales, but one note of concern is his 18-21 record in August and September the last five years.

On Sunday at Gulfstream Park, jockey Alvaro Donis got the ride of his life aboard Iwannatalkaboutme. The rank 2-year-old filly took the lead on the backstretch, backed off, clipped heels and threw Alvaro into the path of two oncoming horses.

Asked about Donis’ well being, communications director David Joseph emailed, “He got right up, walked to the jock’s room on his own and was none the worse. He even had a smile on his face. The horse was fine as well.”

After listening again to the June 29 game of infamy, CSN’s Felger & Mazz determined what Dennis Eckersley said that irked David Price: “What are you going to do now Mr. Price? Two-and-one… Couple of deep breaths, couple of spits and we’ll have our answer.”

Ah Eck, that’s why we love you. Welcome back.

Small Bear, a 3-year-old gelding owned by Bill Parcells, ran second in the Curlin Stakes at the Spa. Parcells’ stable is named August Dawn Farm and its all-time money earner is Saratoga Snacks ($693,000). Several of the names have sports connotations: Bats Cleanup, Infield is In and Bavaro (named after former New York Giants’ tight end Mark Bavaro).

Speaking of big tuna, N.H. state trooper Nick Cyr reeled in a 646-pound bluefin off the coast of Rye on July 20. According to seacoastonline.com, Cyr was reading a book and had two lines out when the big fish hit. He said it spun the boat in circles and dragged it about two miles but at $8.50 a pound it was worth the 90-minute effort.

SQUIBBERS: Jonny Gomes’ best bit of analysis on NESN was when Alcides Escobar worked Matt Barnes for a two-run single on Sunday: “You never really can get hurt with down-and-away fast balls,” said Gomes, “but you can’t showcase ’em the same pitch too many times. Four down-and-out heaters and then right there on the fifth (he singles).” …  Say a prayer for Jerry Remy, who continues to recover from cancer surgery. …  The UMass home opener in three weeks kicks off at 6 p.m. and the rest are at 3:30, including two in late October when the sun will be setting and the wind will be whipping in from the west. Whatever happened to those 1 p.m. kickoffs? Right, the students are still sleeping. … Actor Jeremy Renner told Howard Stern this week that he had a 225 bowling average as a 12-year-old. Renner’s IQ is 175. …The NFL’s only roster cut is Sept. 2 to give teams enough players to get through the preseason. … The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin reported that veterans are paid $1,900 a week in training camp, and rookies make $1,075. … Tournament director Brent McLaughin was given the heave-ho after the second round of last week’s Canadian Open. He said he wasn’t upset because he lasted longer than Anthony Scaramucci.

Chip Ainsworth is an award-winning columnist who has penned his observations about sports for four decades in the Pioneer Valley. He can be reached by email at sports@recorder.com.