Thursday, September 14, 2006

Way Back Wednesday

I walk into the rink on Wednesday morning, full of anticipation. What will the new hockey sweaters for the brand new Wednesday division look like?

Players clad in familiar-looking teal and red sweaters warm up on Rink Two. Inside the heated donut room facing the rink, piles of more teal and red sweaters, as well as green and yellow ones—these too are familiar—have yet to be claimed. Through the glass, I wave to Paul d’Entremont, a hulking figure wearing a retro green sweater (circa 1998) as he marches to Rink One, where he’ll become the first AMHL player to shatter the Plexiglas (which will then be replaced by glass used before 2003, when Rink One underwent a facelift).

The new sweaters, which would represent the Sharks, Canadiens, Sabres, and Rangers, had arrived, but the design and craftsmanship did not meet AMHL standards. Hence, the old sweaters have been resurrected from the tombs of AMHL Worldwide Headquarters until satisfactory sweaters arrive.

On Rink Two, Peter Bagley, dressed in early AMHL teal, becomes the first player in league history (as far as I can remember) to wear glasses without a cage or even a half-shield.

D’Entremont and “Bags” wearing old-time sweaters prompts me to cull the Color Commentary archives, where I had mentioned d’Entremont in no less than eight stories, routinely voting him a Star of the Game.

Bagley appeared in only four stories, all but one as a referee. Zebras aren’t often mentioned in game summaries, not unless there’s a controversial call or they provide a colorful comment.

Most AMHLers recognize Pete as the referee who makes the sign of the cross as he steps onto the ice, calls a halfway-decent game about half the time, issues stern warnings to players about their chin straps not being secured, and who performs R-rated comedy in the breakfast room.

But now that Bags is back in teal instead of black and white, it’s only fitting that we remember his finest documented moment as an AMHL player.

Concord, MA - October 25, 2001

The headline reads, “Peck Picks Pockets, Packs OT Punch as White Wins,” but Bags only garnered a measly sentence in that story: “With a little over four minutes left, Bagley countered for Team White, snapping a quick one past (Heather) Wright.” Yet his goal tied the score at four to send game to OT, where Chris Peck would win it for White.

Peter Bagley: a goal-scorer, a comedian, a real character. God bless you, Bags.
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