BOSTON BRUINS’ GOALIE GERRY CHEEVERS REACHES FOR A PUCK AS FLYERS’ REGGIE LEACH SEEKS REBOUND (1975)
Gerry Cheevers’ mask was painted with black lines shaped as stitches, indicating where the protective mask, most likely, prevented injuries and scarring. The Los Angelas Kings’, Rogatien Vachon, also had a had a unique mask. It was purple and gold with a large pointed, angular nose, like a ’50s Cadillac tail fins.
During our breaks (fifteen minutes), which usually began at 2:00 am, we’d meet at the visiting hockey team’s dressing room and play kick hockey. Two medicine tables, setup at both ends of the room, were our goals. We used a balled-up roll of used gaffer tape for a puck, and on many occasions, we’d wear the visiting hockey team’s goalie mask. Cheevers and Vachon’s were a couple of them. It looked silly, but insanely fun.
Usually, we played 3 on 3, sometimes when we had a large changeover crew turnout, we had five on five, including the goalie. Toward the end of the hockey season, we’d hold our version of the NHL Playoffs with a metallic, hour-glass shaped ash tray serving as our Stanley Cup. Bob Field, our operations assistant superintendent would attend our championship and drop the honorary first puck (bundled ball of gaffer tape). We placed red spectrum chairs within each locker stall, and usually “sold out” the dressing room.
After the game, Bob Field would present the ASHTRAY (STANLEY CUP) to the winner and congratulate them, Then we’d walk the cup around the dressing so all our, ahem, fans could touch the cup. Our championship usually lasted a half hour, some 15 minutes longer than our regular-season break games.
Our hockey games were another of the many ways we kept a physically draining job fun, along with the many parties and caffeinated soft drinks.