Stories indexed with the term ‘Stanley Cup’

Column: Journey to the Stanley Cup

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

Steve Kampfer grew up in Jackson, and learned to play hockey well enough to earn a scholarship to the University of Michigan. He was a good student and a good player on some very good days, but few expected Kampfer to make it to the NHL. I confess that I was one of them.

What chance he had seemed to vanish on an October night in 2008, when he was leaving a campus bar. He started jawing with another student, who happened to be on the wrestling team. Things got hot, but it was all just talk, until the wrestler picked up Kampfer and turned him upside in a single, sudden move – then dropped him head first on the sidewalk.

Kampfer lay there unconscious, with blood sliding out of his mouth. His stunned friend thought he might be dead.

They rushed Kampfer to the hospital, where they discovered he’d suffered a closed head injury and a severe skull fracture, near his spine. He woke up on a flatboard, his head in a neck brace and tubes running out of his body.

His coach, Red Berenson, talked to him about the possibility – even the likelihood – that he would never play hockey again. The goal was simply to make a full recovery, but they wouldn’t know that for three months.

Kampfer was a student in my class at the time, which met twice a week at 8:30 in the morning – not the most popular hour for college students. Just one week after the incident, at 8:30 Monday morning, Steve Kampfer walked back into my class, wearing a neckbrace. He never discussed the injury. He never made any excuses. He never missed a single class. [Full Story]

Column: NHL’s “Original Six” Were Neither

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

Hard-core hockey fans – and really, are there any other kind? – are all pumped up this week because on Wednesday night, the Chicago Blackhawks scored in overtime to win their first Stanley Cup since 1961. And that harkens back to the era of the so-called Original Six.

But if you’re not a hard-core fan, you probably don’t know what Original Six means. The Hard-Cores will be quick to tell you the Original Six is code for the first six NHL teams. They’re easy to remember, if you think of them in pairs: New York and Boston, Montreal and Toronto, Detroit and Chicago.

Hockey fans revere the Original Six the way basketball fans gush about the Celtics-Lakers rivalry and classical music buffs go on about Bach, Brahms and Beethoven. The Original Six has become such a popular catch-phrase, it’s now on a baseball cap, featuring all six team logos. It outsells the caps of most individual teams.

I’ve always suspected the Original Six is such a hot catch-phrase because, for the Hard-Cores, it doubles as a secret password. If you know what the Original Six is, you must be Hard-Core. And if you don’t, you ain’t. [Full Story]