To that dear young whipper-snapper who wrote the piece on Vern O’Donnell and his grandkids in last week’s Times. For a young whipper-snapper you must be to cast vile aspersions on the facts by suggesting Mr. O’Donnell is less than a legend in anyone’s mind.
Not just his grandkids.
I was 11 when Vern and Whitey Christiansen and the rest went down
south and set the hockey establishment on its ears. I was 35, and they were in their 50s, when I signed up for liniment league hockey and had to play defence against Vernie and Whitey.
It was a bit embarrassing but a joy to watch!
All I had to do was get 10 feet too far up ice, then Vern would break out across centre ice with three quick strides that would get him to the blueline at the same time as the puck, which Whitey would have fed him.
Vern would sometimes deke twice, sometimes just twitch his shoulders, then put the puck in. He never missed that I can recall. I certainly do recall that I could never stop him.
Once or twice, I considered tripping him but I would have been crucified by my own teammates, as well as Vern’s–he had that much respect.
Besides, I don’t think I ever got close enough to the old guy to even try. Like I said, embarrassing to be there, but a joy to watch.
Mike Allison knows this, too. Vern and Whitey and the Old-timers did the same thing to the teachers’ team that Mike played for. The only difference between the teachers and us was that they were good
enough to get within a goal or so of beating the old guys.
Whereupon Whitey and the boys would talk the poor saps into wagering a couple of cases of beer on the next match, then wipe their butts good.
We never fell for that.
No, young whipper-snapper, Vern O’Donnell and his teammates are the
genuine thing–people who reach out far beyond the ordinary grasp. It’s
not in anyone’s mind, it’s in the record books. They’re real legends.
Frank R. Durnin