Saturday, January 2, 2010
South Buffalo native Patrick Kane was named to the US Olympic hockey team for next month's winter games in Vancouver. Kane is clearly the best hockey player ever to come out of Buffalo. But I'll always remember him as a soccer player who also happened to play hockey. I read the article in The Sporting News about how much hockey Kane played as a youth. It seemed like every time he had an indoor soccer game, he would arrive three minutes late in full hockey gear, but he rarely missed a soccer game. He was a great player and competitor. In fact, I am amazed at how many games he did play in, given his hockey schedule at that time.
Like everyone else, I saw the story last summer involving Kane and the taxi driver. I've heard stories about him getting a big head but that is not the Patrick Kane I've known. Admittedly, I've only talked to him a half dozen times my whole life, but every time he's been very respectful. He also shows up to most of his younger sister's summer games. A young millionaire in Buffalo could be doing any number of other things with his time. I also know for a fact that Kane has been generous with his time and money without having to broadcast it all over the place. Readers of this blog know, if I felt otherwise, I wouldn't be shy about printing it. Good luck to Kane and the US team in Vancouver. I'm looking forward to watching the games. Olympic hockey is more entertaining to me than NHL hockey.
Kane, Orpik Drury make Team USA : Sports : The Buffalo News
Speaking of US Olympic hockey, one can't help but think about the 1980 gold medal team. I remember as an eight year old, speedskater Eric Heiden and his five gold medals was all the broadcasters were talking about. Nothing was expected of the hockey team. They were amateurs playing against Russian professionals. Back then, the Eastern Europeans weren't allowed in the NHL so the Russians were very mysterious to even the most serious hockey fans. The US team came from behind in every game that year. At the end of the gold medal game against Finland, I remember the players throwing their sticks into the crowd and goalie Jim Craig skating around with the American flag draped around him. Craig never had much of an NHL career but during those games, he was unbeatable. Here are the closing seconds of the game against USSR. You can tell Herb Brooks knew what he was doing as he had former Sabre Mike Ramsey on the ice for the closing minutes.Also, listen to how loud the crowd was in Lake Placid. I'll never forget those games or the crowd's chants of USA!: