This is the night I’ve been waiting for! I have been a Los Angeles Kings fan since their inception into the league in 1967. They are going against the red hot Philadelphia Flyers, who will make their one and only appearance at LA’s Fabulous Forum tonight.
With names like Dave “The Hammer” Schultz, Bob “The Hound” Kelly, André “Moose” Dupont and Don “Big Bird” Saleski, you’d think we’re talking about a Disney on Ice show, but these are the most fierce competitors on ice, playing in an arena near you.
This group has a penchant for beating up players on the opposing team; this may include the fans, who often try to accost them from the stands in protest of their dirty tactics. It’s must see NHL. My pal, Gerald, drives the Zamboni that cleans the Forum’s ice and even better… he sneaks me inside The Forum, through a backstage door.
The game goes as expected… the Flyers dominate and intimidate Los Angeles. Early in the 3rd period, after a goal by Bobby Clarke, the fans exit in droves, as the score spirals to an insurmountable lead of 6-2. Me and Jimmy cash in on all the chaos. While the stampede floods the isles, we slide into a couple seats right behind the Flyers’ bench.
My eyes must have doubled in size… I can’t believe what I’m looking at. They’re right there! We can literally touch their red jerseys. We can smell their sweat. I catch myself with my mouth hanging open, but I have to look nonchalant.
Jimmy and I begin to wonder what we sat down to. It quickly becomes a moment of be careful what you wish for. Or, like the moment in the Wizard of Oz, when she pulls back the curtain only to find that the marvels of the mind don’t quite measure up, in reality.
The L.A. fans are like drunken sailors. They’re loud and crude and foul mouthed and they toss around insults faster than they throw down bottles of beer and anything else they can get their hands on. And they spit.
Suddenly, a chocolate malt flies over us, hitting Mr. Schultz “The Hammer,” and the players along side him. They turn backwards and stand with their sticks raised… making eye contact with me and Jimmy, as if we’re the culprits.
Heck, we just sat down… we were hoping for memories, sitting this close, but this moment has become… SCARY!
We sink deeply into our seats as the players revolt feverishly… fortunately, the fan that tossed the melted mess stands up and begins cursing! The players focus their attention on him as Inglewood police step in between all of us.
This video below is typical of the NHL in 1974/75…
After we get home, me and Jimmy and Gerald all go relive this experience at MGM. It’s just after 11pm when we jump over the fence. We head from the train station entrance to Maple Street, where we climb up to the roof top of a house we call the “Two-chimneys.”
We pop our heads out of each chimney, taking turns peering over the town square, in the dark. The Bronco slowly drives by below us, with his lights off, unaware of our presence. New York street glows, off in the distance… work lights illuminate the piles of concrete still present from Planet of the Apes. That show is on a hold as producers wait on the ratings of the six episodes to compute.
New York Street remains dressed and ready to film. That show, as does my gang, will depend on these ratings for future episodes… Please Watch!
We are still wound up from the Broad Street Bullies experience. I trip over an electrical spider box and fall down a flight of steep, narrow and very dark and dirty old stairs.
As I examine myself for damages in the dark, I realize that I split my noggin. Blood flows freely down my face. I look like I just scrimmaged the Flyers. I continue to play, albeit injured!
We rehash each and every highlight of tonight’s game, catching ourselves as we talk much too loudly, in all our excitement from the day’s adventures. As my left eye begins to swell shut, I think to myself, it adds a nice touch. It’ll make a nice story tomorrow, when kids at school ask me what happened.
The only light anywhere in this town square is the cherry at the end of the doobie we are toking on now…
We head home about mid-night. Jimmy is his usual clean self, Gerald can proudly saddle his Zamboni, but I look like an opponent who was beaten up and doing a lot time in a penalty box…