In the sixth grade, at Hawthorne Elementary, my teacher asked the class to interview a person who was like what they wanted to be when they grew up.

I wanted to be a hockey player.

So what do you do? Pick up the phone and call a hockey player!

I dialed up Pat "Whitey" Stapleton! Number twelve! All-star defenseman for the Chicago Blackhawks!

They actually put the kid through to Whitey.

He told me to come down to their pratice rink and meet at noon. I got to skip school that day.

Pat was gracious to the kid during the interview, even brushing off the network film cameras so that I could get the early exclusive.

I never forgot that.

At the time, Whitey had just acquired the WHA's Chicago Cougars and quickly became the team's Player/Owner/Coach. This is the same league that stole away Bobby Hull and Gordie Howe from their respective NHL strongholds.

Later the WHA self-destructed and then merged with the NHL

After the session, Pat suggested that I talk to the Carol Stream IceArena rink manager, Terry, and ask to help out around the rink. Compensation would be free ice time for every hour I worked.

"Game On!"

Employed at the age thirteen, by the Chicago Cougars big-city hockey team.

My first "RockShow!"

It really was a weird and wonderful experience that stays with me to this day. I'll never forget what Pat Stapleton did for me. It was beautiful.

Time to find a new gig.

By chance, it'd be in the same place the Cougars played, The International Amphitheatre.

And this would be the ultimate "RockShow!"

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