The 1970’s, especially the early portion of the decade was special to me.
Having immigrated from the Czech Republic in 1969 and fresh from the exhilaration of beating the Russians in the Olympics after the Warsaw Pact invaded and occupied the country to prevent "westernization" and the rise of capitalism … I was all about hockey.
After all, it was the Czechs who invented hockey.
Sure, the Canadians invented hockey skates and hockey pucks but it was the Czechs who invented the game, medaled in the first Olympic Games in 1920 and taught the Russians how to play the game in the 50’s. That’s what I "knew" as a 10 year old.
Having moved to the Chicago area I immediately embraced the Blackhawks who were the darlings of the town during what was probably their golden age.
Tony-0, Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Pit martin, Jim Pappin, Pat Stapleton, Keith Magnuson
It was a high time for hockey in the city.
Then there was the unsung hero of the Chicago blue line.
The guy who allowed Stapleton to roam free because he was never out of position and never let a player go by him.
He was Nick Lindstrom at a Bobby Orr time when being Nick Lindstrom wasn’t properly appreciated.
He broke into the big league at 28 and by the time the Blackhawks got him he was 30 years old. That’s when the all-star appearances began and didn’t end until he retired at 38.
And still he was under-appreciated.
During an era of great offensive defensemen he was a rock who could stop anyone.
He made me feel like we could win any game because he was on our team.
Sometimes Tony Esposito sucked, some times Bobby Hull struck out, sometimes Stan Mikita was too slow or too injured.
Bill white never sucked and he was always Bill White.
He made me feel safe and he was my favorite.