Seeing this ticket stub from the March 16th, 2012 game between the Ottawa Senators and their despised rivals the Montreal Canadiens has jarred a memory free from my clogged mind (which I suppose is the main objective of this typing exercise). No, it’s not that the game ended with the Sens winning by a score of 2-1 (hooray!) or that it was the first of a two-night hockey run that saw me take in a home-team loss at the hands of the Sens’ even greater rivals the much-loathed Maple Leafs the following night. Those are facts that I gleaned not from my noggin but from my ticket book. That I went to the game with and courtesy of my friend Huss is easily discernible by the excellent placement of the 200-level seating (thanks Huss!), a feat of logic and not memory.
No, the memory that has been jogged by this ticket stub is of one of my guitar students back in this era, a lady whose name escapes me (of course) except that her surname just might have been…Taylor. Her guitar and her musical course-load remain at the frontismost of my mind (as it always is when I think of past students) as does the story she told me of her grandfather, who just might have been the mostly-unheralded Cyclone Taylor, who is featured on this ticket. Heck, for the remainder of this narrative let’s just suppose that he was, shall we? Otherwise I’m just waving my laptop in the wind.
Passive supporter that I was, I made a habit of wearing a Sens shirt on game days which tended to give my students the mostly-inaccurate impression that I was a big hockey fan. If they themselves were hockey fans the subject would generally come up, and on one of these occasions my mostly unnamed student mentioned that she and her family had been invited by the Senators franchise to take in a game from one of the team’s VIP boxes as her grandfather – who used to play for the team a century earlier – was being honoured.
His name was (we’re supposing) Cyclone Taylor, a player who not only helped his team win a mittful of Stanley Cups but who set a fair number of NHL records besides, and those records can never be beat.
Never be beat huh? How about Gretzky, or Crosbie, or Bunny Larocque? “But they weren’t rovers,” she replied, to which I responded: “Huh?!? Wha?!?!
“What’s a ‘rover’?”
Well now, turns out a ‘rover’ was a position on professional hockey teams who wasn’t confined to a certain section of ice the way forwards or defencemen are. Yes, back in the days before the offside rule came in there was a sixth skater who roamed about the rink freely, until the position was discontinued in the late 1920’s. And it turns out that this Cyclone Taylor fellow was not only a rover, he was one of the best; in addition to being named MVP once or twice he nabbed several league scoring records, records that – when described as “most scored by a rover…” – stand today and will remain so for the foreseeable future.
Turns out you do learn new things every day, especially when you go to guitar lessons.