Friday, October 9, 2009

Bob Costas' first game broadcasting the Syracuse Blazers

Here's a great story from Bob Costas as related by Herm Card of Eagle Newspapers. Of course, Ouimet never played for Johnstown until they were in the NAHL. (Likewise, Costas probably never broadcast the EHL, but only the NAHL in 1973-74 at the age of 21.) Still, it's a great story.

“My first job in broadcasting was the Eastern Hockey League, broadcasting the Syracuse Blazers games for WSYR radio. They paid me 30 dollars a game plus five dollars meal money on the road. I rode the bus with the team, plugged an electronic gadget into the phone line in the press box and broadcast back to SYR. My very first game was at Johnstown, the team they based a team on in the movie Slap Shot.

“To prepare, I got the rosters of the teams and studied them till the players were like members of my own family. Then, just before game time, I noticed that the Johnstown owner had sprung for new uniforms – all the numbers were different.

“There was no time to relearn the numbers, so when the first Johnstown player on the ice was a guy wearing number 2 named Fran├žois Ouimet, I decided that he was about to play the game of his life.”

Costas continued, with a big grin on his face, “No matter what the play, Fran├žois was in on it. He scored all the goals and even assisted on his own. He checked everybody, including himself, into the boards. He was in on every play. He was everywhere.”