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.
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!"