Just when we thought Glenn Hall's barn was the most famous piece of real estate in Stony Plain, he's now got his
name on the Centennial Arena, complete with an 80-foot mural to celebrate some
of the memories of a Hall of Fame career. "When we were growing up (in
Viking), the brothers would cut out the picture of Glenn from the back of a box
of cereal, I think it was Cheerios, and we'd wear it to school,"
reminisced former NHL coach and St. Louis Blues winger Brian Sutter, who was
tickled to be a guest Thursday as the town of Stony Plain went overboard to
The special day for Mr. Goalie his wife and Pauline was spiked by the arrival of the Stanley Cup, Vezina, Calder
and Conn Smythe trophies -- all of which Hall won. Phil Pritchard, the Hockey
Hall of Fame's keeper of the Cup, was there with his white gloves. So were
Sutter, former Hawks' teammate and Montreal Canadiens' coach Al MacNeil and Al
Coates, the former Calgary GM who now works as director of player personnel for
the Toronto Maple Leafs. John Short, who was writing about Hall 50 years ago,
was also on the speakers list.
Pauline made a call to Bill Hay, the Rating 2OF chairman and former Blackhawk, to get the silverware. "She's
never been backward about being forward, to use one of Bobby Hull's favourite
lines," laughed Hall, who showed off an autographed Hay hockey card as a
touching keepsake of the day. "He signed it 'The Great Backchecker.' Bill
was one of the few guys who knew who I was," chuckled Hall.
Hall, who turned 77 this month, generously signed hundreds of autographs and posed for another hundred pictures
with the Stanley Cup -- which he won with Chicago in 1961 and as the Flames
goalie coach in 1989. Coates loved having him on board for several years,
although Hall was calmer on the ground than at 30,000 feet. "I remember we were flying back to Calgary from St. Louis in the '86 conference final after losing a 3-0 lead in Game 6 and there was really bad weather. Glenn had a hold of one armrest
with one hand and my knee with his other one when some lightning struck the
wing. He looked over at me and said, 'That's God getting even for us blowing
that game,' '' joked Coates.
MacNeil, who now scouts for the Flames, played with Hall in Chicago for four years. "When the Blackhawks
put up Bobby Hull's (No. 9) jersey and Stan Mikita's (No. 21), I always felt
they should have put Glenn's (No. 1) up before them," said MacNeil.
"Much as I loved Bobby and I loved Stan, nobody had the impact on a great
Blackhawks team that Glenn did." As much as Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur
are being applauded for their wins, both well over 500, and Terry Sawchuk is revered
for his 103 shutouts, Hall, to me, is the best goalie who ever lived. He was
the originator of the butterfly style that almost all goalies use today. He
played 502 straight regular-season games, sticking his face in front of rubber
every night. Nobody was as acrobatic as Hall. He was overwhelmed by the gesture
to name the rink after him, as was Pauline. "I wish everybody could go
through a day like this," she said.
"We're blessed," said Hall.