Posted: Jul 5, 2012 at 2:50 PM [Jul 5, 2012]
It was my pleasure to interview U-M icon, former hockey coach Al Renfrew while seated on his backyard patio.
One memory seems to generate others as you will see below.
When you go to the link shown about, click on "here" and you will arrive at a menu of local history selections.
Thank you for your kind comments. My fear was that with my limited knowledge about hockey, I would place my foot squarely in my mouth. Memories seem to generate more memories and here are some below from hockey fan Jim Heddle:
Some more nostalgia
Thank you for sending the link to the Al Renfrew interview, I really enjoyed it! You did a great job. Have you done any other interviews yet, or was that the first one? I think I mentioned this to you before but wanted to remind you that a great person to talk to would be Pat Hatch, the daughter of long-time equipment manager Henry Hatch, provided she is still in town and in good health. I know she has some amazing stories, and since she grew up in the house that used to be located inside the stadium grounds, she's the only person who can say that she used to throw a party for 100,000 people in her backyard on fall Saturdays!
Here are a few memories of my own that your interview triggered:
The most incredible story I'm aware of from Al Renfrew was in the book Blue Ice, when he said that for the first year or two he was in Ann Arbor there was a serious lack of available housing for students, so he and a couple of the other players actually LIVED in the Coliseum, they set up cots to sleep in under the stands on the north side - can you imagine that?
Also regarding the National Champion 1964 team, that happened to be the first season that Ohio State fielded a hockey team, and one weekend the Wolverines traveled south to Columbus to tangle with the Buckeyes. The final score: Michigan 21, OSU 0. The Bucks did not pay a return visit to Ann Arbor for several years after that one!
Then there was the night during the Mel Wakabayashi era when Michigan hosted MSU. You may recall that in those days there was no glass along the boards at the edge of the rink, so the fans were literally on top of the action. At one point a big defenseman from State slammed little Mel into the boards which infuriated the Michigan fans. One guy sitting in the front row was so mad that he reached over the boards, grabbed Mel's stick and hit the Spartan guy over the head with it before running out of a nearby doorway! The next day the newspaper reported that the perpetrator had later turned himself in to police, but that charges were not likely to be filed.
When the hockey team moved from the Coliseum to Yost in the 70s, my dad bought us season tickets in Section G (nowadays the sections have numbers), which was right under the press box between the blue line & center ice. Doc Losh sat in the same section but down lower, and she was always accompanied by Red & Lois Simmons who were her caretakers at that time. One night in about 1975 I decided to go to an EMU basketball game which started at 7 pm, and then I rushed over to Yost to catch the end of the hockey game which didn't begin until 7:30. I had purchased one of those Big Apple hats with the alternating green & white stripes when I was in East Lansing, so that I could wear it to EMU sports events. I was wearing it that night and neglected to take it off before entering Yost Arena. When Doc Losh saw me come in wearing that green & white hat, she gave me the MEANEST look! If I had been in her astronomy class, I would have been fortunate to get the grade of "D" for dunce!
When I was working at WPAG in the late 70s, they had a very talented personality (and EMU grad) named Dave Braunschidle working there. On Saturday mornings before UM home football games he would do a show live from Webers, and his guest was alway Wally Weber who told all of his amazing stories. I sure wish I would have taped those shows!
Thanks again Dale, looking forward to more. Jim Heddle Tucson, AZ
On Jul 5, 2012, at 9:18 AM, Jim Keough wrote:
Thanks Dale for this wonderful insightful video with Renny. This is one of those things that will be around for many years as a reference or memory maker for those whose lives were touched by Marge and Al. It certainly has been passed around a lot by the team members and enjoyed by many. Thanks for the idea and the execution of that idea. Jim