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Bench Talk / Off The Wire

The Showdown

Fred

By Fred Wallace

 Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".

 

This is the 35th anniversary of my greatest individual accomplishment in athletics.

For years at Easter, the good folks at Molson's ran a HUGE men's hockey tournament at Sudbury, maybe they still do.

And make no mistake, it was a good tournament, packed with talented players.

The first year I played with Hebner's Taxi of the Midland Rec League, 1983, we got smoked 15-0 in our opening game, with one, smallish player scoring a ton of goals with ease.

The smallish player turned out to be Bobby Lalonde who played more than 600 games in the NHL and only the year before had suited up for the Calgary Flames of the NHL.

A year later in 1984, Hebner's Taxi was back and had a little more success by winning our first game which also created a tiny dilemma.

The tournament was staged at two arenas, and on the Saturday afternoon with Hebner's Taxi playing our second game at Chelmsford, John Swales and I were also entered in the Tournament " Showdown " competition being conducted at the Azilda Arena.

Late in our game at Chelmsford, John & I jumped off the ice & into a car and were whisked to Azilda.

Somehow, John managed to ditch his extra hockey gear while I stayed in mine for the drive & arrived on the ice as the the ONLY guy in a field of 120 shooters to have full equipment on.

Oh yes, there was laughter throughout the arena when I skated out.

The laughing subsided though when Fred Wallace of Hebner's Taxi won his first 5 showdowns and made it to the final 4.

My teammate, John Swales, wasn't so lucky, losing along the road to a guy in a beige trench coat wearing horn rimmed glasses, a shooter that John dubbed " Mr Dress Up ".

Sure enough the semifinal winners were Fred Wallace &........ Mr Dress Up which meant we would have a final " showdown " for a $ 100 winner-take-all cash prize.

Mr Dress Up and his trench coat were no match for the hero from Hebner's Taxi who went glove side on 3 consecutive shots to win the 1984 Sudbury Showdown Championship.

You know, I still have the plaque all these years later, plus a great memory of a fun afternoon in Northern Ontario.

As for the $ 100, once my Hebner's Taxi teammates heard the Shootout results they were quick to get to the arena bar in Azilda and swallow Molson's products & my good fortune.

 

I'm Fred Wallace

 


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