I later met Bobby Orr (click on his name to read "Bobby Orr and the night my Dad didn't believe me) in
during his rookie season, but I didn’t encounter many other “pros” until I was a young guy in the broadcasting field in the 1970s. Orr, though, was a nice as you could possibly expect when I saw him that Friday night in Toronto in the fall of 1966, the night before the Leafs hosted Orr and the Bruins at the old Gardens, Toronto
Because they were both nice to me and graciously shook my hand, they would be on my list of “nice guys” who made meeting an NHL’er a memorable—and positive—experience.
I could pick any number of players who I've cnountered through the years, but to fill out my all nice-guy roster I'll go with Andy Bathgate. I interviewed Andy not that long ago for this site. ( Click to go to that interview.) And he was also very generous with his time back in the mid-1970s when I was a young guy in broadcasting and wanted the chance to interview him. An all-time great and a fine person.
So right there I have four Hall-of-Famers- a goalie, a defensemen, a center and a right winger plus a local childhood hero (Reaume) and a tough role-playing winger (Garland). That's a good start.
Based on how players come across, either in person or interacting with the media, we probably all have our personal “nice guy” team— players who come across in a genuine, down-to-earth way.
Hockey players, generally speaking, have the reputation of being the best pro athletes to deal with for reporters. Fans seem to feel the same way. For me, the list of modern-day “nice guys” has to include
goalie Tim Thomas. I don't know Tim but he just seems to be a guy who appreciates where he has come from and works hard, someone who has a certain humility about him and makes time for others. Boston
Who is on your “nice-guy” team, past or present? It can be based on a personal encounter that you had, how they come across in interviews, stories you’ve heard, whatever comes to mind.
Send your comments along.