February 13th, 1972 – Thomas Griffith
On or about Jan-Feb. 1972, in a clash at the Duluth Arena in front of 5,400 screaming fans, the Duluth East Greyhounds were pitted vs. the Virginia Blue Devils. I was a center, and faced off opposite the Carlson brothers, Steve, Jeff and Jack, all 3 sporting their black horn rimmed glasses. Yes, at least one of them had the white tape holding the corner of his specs together. I remember them as tall, lanky, skilled, and clearly not scholars. Famously, their mother roamed the concourse proudly displaying 3 large buttons on her sweater, each with a boy’s smiling face. I don’t recall the outcome, but it was close, as we had several years of excellent tilts against that team. When the epic Slapshot came out, I was thrilled to see two of the Carlsons and Clinton’s own Joe Nolan, our favorite home game ref, all in this legendary cult pic. (Sadly, Jack had been called up by the Edmonton Oilers prior to shooting, so he was replaced by Dave Hanson of Wisconsin as the third brother). That fittingly bookended my Minnesota hockey life and the great times I had at Hamilton and at the Clinton Arena. BTW – Paul Newman was a great skater and said it was one of his favorite movies to make.
– Thomas Griffith