Nobody Knew: When “The Miracle” Touched Greater Western New York

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Everyone knows what happened. Forty years ago this past weekend, when Al Michaels asked the world “Do you believe in Miracles?” a new generation discovered the power of belief. It may surprise you, then, what many people didn’t know…

Yale_Hockey_1980_US_Olympics_300In the months leading up to the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics, Team USA hockey coach Herb Brooks scheduled a rigorous sixty-one game exhibition program for his ragtag group. One of those games was played right here in Greater Western New York. The event was held at Buffalo’s Nichols Arena against the Yale hockey team.

Just a couple months earlier, Yale hockey coach Tim Taylor used that game to lure me away from my intention to join the crew team. “Chris, we’ll fly you to Buffalo so you can visit your family,” he said. I took the bait and agreed to serve as manager of the team, (hockey being my second favorite sport and all).

Little did I know that decision fated me to meet history head on.

After all, it was just hockey – at the time an unassuming game played by generally Continue Reading “Nobody Knew: When “The Miracle” Touched Greater Western New York”

I’m Not a Dancer

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Dateline: October 27, 1979

Two conversation threads ran on our hour-long bus ride back. For some in the group, they gushed with overwhelming enthusiasm over having taken their first step in what they expected to be a life-long political career. For others, they gushed with overwhelming enthusiasm over having just discovered the girls’ college we were spending the evening at was hosting a Halloween party.

I participated in neither discussion. Perhaps I was contemplating Bush’s anxiety. Perhaps I was mulling over my own insignificance. More likely, though, I was tired and wondering if Continue Reading “I’m Not a Dancer”

My Greatest Sale

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I had worked the graveyard shift on the AM dial for more than two years when the idea struck me – Why don’t we have a sports department? I knew from first-hand experience the Yale hockey team had a fan base well beyond the campus borders. New 1041448_77704542_Green_Money_royalty_free-stock_xchng_300Haven, back then at least, thrived on the skates of its minor league hockey team. Yalies and townies alike delighted in the drama provided by the Yale icemen and their young new head coach – but only during home games. When the team went on the road, it left the fans high and dry, yearning for a shred of news. Until I had my idea…

The AM dial – my home – had a limited audience due to FCC restrictions on its signal. The FM side, however, reached halfway into the Long Island Sound. This fact, given few people actually lived on the Long Island Sound, was less impressive than it seemed. More impressive, however, lay in the detail that radio signals swept a circular area, meaning two-thirds of the signal strength seeped into homes along the southern Connecticut shore and into the very heart of the state. Within these homes lived tens of thousands of hockey fans. It was the call of these people that brought me to the Continue Reading “My Greatest Sale”