Maury Z. Levy

Posts Tagged ‘flyers’

Soul on Ice: What You Never Knew About the Philadelphia Flyers

In Philadelphia Magazine (1970-1980) on September 9, 2009 at 2:29 pm

AFD 177893

THIS IS A HAPPY STORY. It’s the story of a lot of all‑American boys from Canada and a Jewish vegetable hustler from Washington and Kate Smith and Ed Van Impe’s jockstrap. This is a story of fire on ice and a lot of the people who struck a match along the way to help heat this town to hockey fever. But mostly this is the story of Ed Van Impe’s jockstrap.

That’s how hockey hungry the people who follow the Flyers in Philadelphia have become.

Frank Lewis is the trainer. He is also equipment manager, traveling pharmacist and official blade sharpener. Frank Lewis has been around hockey for a long time here. He used to be trainer for the Ramblers, who used to play at the Arena and were the forerunners of either professional hockey or the roller derby. Frank Lewis has come a long way to become trainer of one of the fastest rising teams in the National Hockey League.

It’s Sunday night, and down on the white glaze of the Spectrum, the Flyers are putting it to the Pittsburgh Penguins, while up in the stands, 14,620 people are yelling and screaming and jumping up and down. One of the calmer ones is Frank Lewis’s wife. When you live as much hockey as she does, you get to take certain things in stride.

It’s between the first and second periods when most of the people in the crowd have headed out to the refreshment stands to cool themselves off from the heat of a continuing flow of emotional orgasms. Helen Lewis sits back in her seat to enjoy 15 minutes of open air, interrupted only by the casual conversation of the well-appointed, middle-aged, maybe matronly lady next to her.

“Your husband sure must do a lot of housework for the Flyers,” the lady said, “keeping those uniforms so clean and everything.”

“I ought to give him some of my laundry,” Helen Lewis said. “The team’s got better equipment than we do at home. I haven’t even gotten around to buying an automatic dryer yet.”

“Well, my dear,” said the lady, “don’t look any further. I’ve got an old one in perfect condition that I was just about to get rid of. If you want it, it’s yours. I’ll send my car around to drop it off.”

“Oh, I couldn’t do that,” Helen Lewis said. “Please let me pay you.”

“Well, there is one thing you could do for me.” “Sure, anything.”

“Well, your husband is very close to the players and he handles all their equipment, right?”

“That’s right.”

“Well, do you think he could get me a particular piece of equipment?”

“It might be a little hard, but I’ll ask him. Just what were you after?”

“Ed Van Impe’s jockstrap.”

Helen Lewis tried to keep a straight face. After the game she took her newfound friend down to the locker room area where she flagged down her husband, pulled him over to the side and told him the story. Frank Lewis didn’t bat an eye.

“Ask her if she wants the inner one or the outer one,” he said.

Helen Lewis carried out the orders. Her friend said she’d prefer the inner one.

“Wait here,” Frank Lewis said as he went into the dressing room. “Van Impe,” he yelled, I need your jock.” “Why?” asked the Flyers captain.

“Don’t ask questions, just give me the damn thing.”

Van Impe threw the supporter over and Frank Lewis put it in a plain wrapper and brought it out to the well-appointed lady.

“Oh, thank you so much,” she said. “You don’t know how much this means to me.”

“Don’t thank me,” Frank Lewis said, “thank Van Impe. What a great guy. He’d give you the shirt off his back.”   Read the rest of this entry »

“I Sign My Name with My Knuckles!”

In Philadelphia Magazine (1970-1980) on September 8, 2009 at 7:59 pm

schultzcover

THEY HAD SLIT HIS THROAT SO many times now already, he was starting to get used to it. But cutting out his eye, that was something else again.

It was back in May in the next-to-last game against Boston, the Thursday before the Flyers won the Stanley Cup. Wayne Cashman, who skates for Boston, a team that used to stake its reputation on being rough and tough, was not being very nice at all.

Early in the game, he almost chopped off Bernie Parent’s head. A few minutes later, he swung his stick at Jimmy Watson. And then he punched Ed Van Impe in the mouth.

Finally, the Flyers put Dave Schultz on the ice. Dave Schultz is supposed to take care of these things. He is a policeman, an enforcer and a lot of other polite words. Mostly his purpose in life is to beat the shit out of people.

Wayne Cashman made some motions toward Dave Schultz. “He was going like this,” Schultz says, drawing a line under his eye with his finger. “I didn’t think he had to resort to that. I hoped he really wouldn’t try to cut out my eye.”

In previous meetings, Cashman had taken his shots at Schultz, usually with his stick and usually in the area of his head. He’d caught him in the throat at least once, but he’d never gone after his eyes.

Schultz had little choice but to do what he does. He grabbed onto Cashman’s jersey with his left hand. His left hand isn’t worth much on the ice. He is a one-handed fighter. Cashman got in the first few punches to the face.

“I’ll give the other guy those first couple shots,” Schultz says, “while I get a grip on him. Once I get my hand on his shirt, though, I take over.”

Schultz took over with a round of very hard right hands that snapped Cashman’s head back and filled his face with blood. Cashman tried to duck and wrestle himself inside, but Schultz went underneath and started scoring big with uppercuts. One of them knocked Cashman half­way into the air and he lost his balance and Schultz pushed him right over on his side and jumped on top of him and kept hitting him very hard about the head and body. By now, the ice was very full of blood, none of it Schultz’s.

The officials finally managed to pull them apart. It took two men to get Schultz away. Cashman finally got up. His jersey had been pulled all the way off and his face was very battered, but he was still standing.

“He must be pretty tough,” Dave Schultz said with a grin that still had some teeth in it. “Those punches would have killed an ordinary man.”

Then, before they finally got him off the ice to the penalty box, Schultz skated by the Boston bench to see if there were any more takers. It was an old custom of his that started three years ago when he was in the minor leagues, racking up a world’s record 392 penalty minutes in one season with the Richmond Robins.

The Robins were playing in Providence one night and Schultz got into a fight with their toughest man and knocked him out cold. He then made his motions to the Providence bench, looking for more action.

“You were going to take on the whole team?” he was asked.

“No,” he said. “I meant the whole town.”   Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: