Growing up in the Kingston area, we tended to get more Habs broadcasts than Leafs.  So there are certain people you’d get used to on a Hockey Night in Canada Saturday night that those in Southwestern Ontario didn’t see as much..

Dick Irvin was one of those guys.  He was a great colour commentator – doing the job for 33 years.

Getting to the point of this post:  Irvin was just awarded the Order of Canada.  It’s for “his contributions to hockey as a beloved broadcaster and author, as well as for his charitable activities.”

I remember meeting Irvin.  I was covering a game in Buffalo, about 15 years ago, for Stan Fischler Hockey Services.  I was there early, had the pregame meal in the media lounge, and had wandered out in a hallway not far from the dressing rooms.  It was still over an hour to game time, so I grabbed a chair off to the side and read the game notes given to us media.

So I’m sitting there, minding my own business, and along comes Irvin.  Out of the blue, he asked if he could sit with me.  I, of course, was glad to accept.  We made introductions and then sat there talking for 20 minutes or so.  Little of the talk was about hockey in this day and age, but moreso about what hockey was liked in the 50s, 60s and 70s.  I remember asking who was the most exciting player he covered.  He said that obviously there was the Rocket.  But more surprisingly he said Guy Lafleur was right up there too.  Irvin told me nothing was better than watching Lafleur rush end-to-end with his hair flowing freely, dodging hits and often sniping a goal coming down his opposite side of the ice.

Yeah, meeting Irvin was one of those guys I’ll never forget.

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