An interview with Ted Tucker, "The Puck Stopper!"

We’re talking here with former Gears goaltender Ted Tucker. Wearing the Gears tangerine and turquoise for just 16 games in the end of the 1979-80 season, Ted returned to Saginaw to play between the pipes for 40 of the 81 games in the 1980-81 championship season. Amazingly, that championship was Ted’s FOURTH in his hockey career.

Starting his hockey career in the 1967-68 season with the Montreal Junior Canadiens, Ted played two seasons there and was on their Memorial Cup winning team in his second season. After that he advanced to the EHL for three seasons with the Clinton Comets. In his first season with the Comets Ted played in 86 games and guarded the crease for the team all the way to the Walker Cup and yet another championship. In his third season with the Comets Ted had seven teammates who would end up wearing a Gears uniform the next season in the IHL and he would later end up playing against six of them. Before going to the IHL, however, Ted would head up the WHL and the Salt Lake Golden Eagles for two seasons and would also play five games in the NHL with the California Golden Seals.

Arriving in the IHL for the 1974-75 season Ted Tucker would again be a key element in another great team of players. That season Ted would play 50 games and guard his net for 2166 minutes with the Toledo Goaldiggers. In that same season Ted and the Diggers would beat the Gears in a 7 game final series and he would find himself with a third championship ring. During the next five seasons that he was active in the IHL Ted would play for Toledo, Muskegon, Columbus, Port Huron, Dayton and finally Saginaw. It was in the 1980-81 season with the Saginaw Gears that Ted Tucker would sip Champaign from the Turner Cup for the second time in the Wendler Arena as the Gears won their second IHL championship.

Now I’ve hunted Ted down, cornered him and he has agreed to do an interview with us here at Saginaw Gears Dot Com…

SGDC: Ted, thank you so much for taking this time and doing an interview with Saginaw Gears Dot Com.

Ted: Thanks Wes and a hello to all the loyal Saginaw Gears Fans. Can you believe it has been 30 years since the Gears went bankrupt in the spring of 1983? Wow, I still remember seeing the fans wearing orange coats and some tams in the arena. 

SGDC: Normally I start from the start, which would be you as a little kid skating on some frozen water in Canada, but in your case let’s start with a lot bigger kid- the one who has just won his fourth hockey championship. Heck, millions of players never come close to a single championship, so four in a lifetime is pretty impressive. What were your thoughts and considerations about hockey and what you may want to do following that fourth championship season?

Ted: I’ve been blessed to play on some great teams and with some great players along with great coaches and after we won the Turner Cup which was my second in the IHL and ironically my first was with the Toledo Goaldiggers. They were both won in the same city and arena ( Wendler Arena ). I was all set to come back and play for the Gears in the 1981 – 82. I had agreed to a contract with Marcel in the off season but unfortunately it became a matter of numbers with the Gears. I was being paid solely by the Gears and 2 pro goalies were sent down from the L.A. Kings. So I became the odd man out because of money. Fortunately for me the owners of the Gears liked me and asked if I would like to join their front office in sales and marketing and before the season was over I became the P.R. Director for the Gears.   

SGDC: Although you had the good luck to guard the net for a lot of great players and coaches, are there any individuals we stand out in your memory?

Ted: There are so many players and I will start with the players from my Memorial Cup winning team the Montreal Junior Canadiens 1968 – 69. You can look this team up and I read it somewhere that this was and still is the best Junior team ever assembled. I believe all of us turned pro from that team. We had and my spelling might be a little off on some of the names, Gilbert Pearualt, Richard Martin, Marc Tardiff, Guy Charron, J.P. Bordeleau, Bobby Lalonde, Andre “Moose” Dupont and Rejean Houle. I’ll let the readers do their home work on the rest of the players from that team.

Then when I played for the Clinton Comets of the EHL I played with Dennis Desroisiers, Bordan Smith, Russ Friesen and against coach Don Perry and trainer Gunner Garrett.

Then who can’t remember Paul Tantardini, Willie Trogntz and Doug Mahood with the 74 – 75 Goaldigger team and Coach Ted Garvin. This team is still remembered as probably the best of all the Toledo teams because of how we won the Cup with our toughness ( fighting ) and the group of players that we had. A first year team not picked to make the playoffs and barely making it into the south division playoffs with a losing record. Knocking off Columbus in 5 games beating first place Dayton in 7 games on their ice and finally beating first place Saginaw in a thriller of a seventh game 6 – 5 on their ice. This ring is my most cherished of all my rings.

Then all the players I met in my cup of coffee stint in the NHL ( 3 months ) The league consisted of 16 teams and I got to see all 16 arenas with the likes of Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito.

I also remember, when I played with the Montreal Junior Canadiens, how our dressing room was just down the hallway from the NHL team and seeing all those players practice and play on the same ice as we did and once in awhile some would show up to watch our games. Gump Worsley was one who would come out often and I got to know him.

SGDC: Some teams in some seasons just seem destine to go all the way in a given season. Could you see that in some of your championship seasons teams?

Ted: Yes on several teams that I played with, but not all getting the same results. Montreal Junior Canadiens 68-69 Memorial Cup, Clinton Comets 69-70 Walker Cup, Salt lake Golden Eagles 73-74 losing to the Phoenix Roadrunners and the Saginaw Gears 80-81 Turner Cup. I would like to add and explain that I was blessed as a player. No matter what league I played in, I either won a Championship in my first year or last year in that league or division growing up as a player, my case in point going all the way back to youth hockey. My last year of Pee Wee won a Championship, last year of Bantam won a Championship, last year of Midgets won a Championship, first year of Junior in Thunder Bay won a Championship, last year of Juniors Memorial Cup 68-69, first year out of Junior with Clinton EHL 69-70 Walker Cup, first year Toledo Goaldiggers 74-75 Turner Cup and last year I ever played with Saginaw 80-81 Turner Cup. I also came close to cups on three other teams; Port Arthur Mars losing to the Toronto Marlies for the Memorial Cup , Salt Lake losing to Phoenix in WHL and Port Huron losing to Toledo in 77-78 season.

SGDC: Okay, now let’s roll the clock back to that kid skating on frozen water in Canada. Your home town of Thunder Bay, Ontario has plenty of winter and plenty of ice. When did you first pick up a stick and how did you come about being a goaltender?

Ted: Now you are dating me. I never played organized hockey until I was 9 which would be 1959. The reason for a late start is we never had youth hockey back then. Pee Wee was it. Now we have kids starting out at 4 and 5 years old.

The reason I became a goalie was from playing street hockey and I idolized Terry Sawchuck. The Elks Club who sponsored the leagues back then had an ad in the paper for player registration and position you wanted to play, so I opted for the goalie position. I was so bad I think I let in about 150 goals in 12 games my first year.  

SGDC: The 1968-69 season found you playing for the Montreal Junior Canadiens, and with that team you went to your first championship- that must have been a thrill at the age of 19.

Ted: Yes because the Memorial Cup is like winning the Stanely Cup. The format has changed since I won the Cup. Back then you had to beat all the eastern team leagues and then face the winner from the western division. For example you first had to win your division OHA then play a team from the Quebec league then out west to play the western division champions.

SGDC: Net-minding for the Junior Canadiens that season, you had some soon to be famous players skating in front of you- guys like Andre Dupont and Gilbert Parreault. Right?

Ted: Yes and if you go to and look up the 68-69 Montreal Junior Canadiens you can really visualize all the talent that this team had. Take the time to click on each player from that team and look at their individual stats. It will truly amaze you. Just for an example Rejean Houle was the number one overall pick in the NHL draft when he entered the pro ranks.

SGDC: I’m picturing this kid from Thunder Bay suddenly tossed into the heart of the Quebecois. Did you have to learn to speak French quickly in order to get along?

Ted: The players taught me all the bad words in French. I went to Montreal in the 67-68 season and there were only four English players on the team, so mostly we hung out together . My roommate was Jim Bannatyne who played for the Port Huron Flags and he showed me the ropes so to speak. Our coach Roger Bedard was French and he would pull us aside and talk to us if we made a mistake, but most of his coaching was in French. The 68-69 season we had three English players but the French players adopted us and we were one big happy family. I’m still amazed to this day how much talent was on that Team.  

SGDC: How did you find your way onto the Clinton Comets from the Junior Canadiens?

Ted: Well it started like this. I went to the Montreal Canadiens training camp in 1969 as they owned my pro rights. I had a decent camp and they placed me in Muskegon. I was there about a week when the GM of the Mohawks, Moose Lallo, called me into his office. He said I was just probably going to be a back up and not see to much action because their goalie Bruce Mullet was coming back. He also said that the Clinton Comets who were affiliated with Minnesota needed a goalie and that they only carry one goalie to cut down the costs in the EHL. He also said that he was going to pay me $150 per week but would tell Clinton that my weekly pay was $180. So, to me it was a no brainer to go to Clinton and play for them in the 69-70 season. I made the right choice as we won the Walker Cup and I made first team all-star and also rookie of the year. This was Clinton’s third Walker Cup in a row but unfortunately this was the last Walker Cup Clinton would win as they closed their doors after the 72-73. The old barn is still there and kids are still playing hockey in it, but with a few updates like glass around the rink instead of chicken wire when I played there.

SGDC: In the 1969-70 season you played 86 games for the Comets- that’s more than 5,100 minutes on the ice in a single season and I don’t even want to think about how many shots you took. You must have been a walking bruise over that summer.

Ted: I was a walking bruise that season. You have to remember we didn’t have the high-tech equipment back then. I can still remember taking a shot in the shoulder or arm and then getting hit in almost the same spot for about 3 weeks straight then everything would clear up.

SGDC: The Comets had a real interesting mix of players from the kids to veterans. Some of those guys had been in the stitches leagues for a long time and knew every trick. How did that shape your development as a professional?

Ted: It was an eye opener because now here I’m playing with a player named Pat Kelly who is actually the Coach / GM and my defensemen. Then two other players Captain Dan Kane and Lenny Speck are our trainers. This was to cut costs for the team. Our team consisted of 4 defensemen 9 forwards and me the lone goalie. I played 86 games that season and weighed 155 lbs soaking wet.

A lot of goalies that played in the NHL back then, came out of the EHL and I truly believe it was because they saw a lot of rubber and played so many games that made them a better goalie.

SGDC: From Clinton you headed to the US West and joined the Salt Lake Golden Eagles of the WHL for the 1972-73 season. How’d you like it out there? It must have been a nice switch compared to playing some of those EHL barns.

Ted: It was like I died and went to heaven. The Salt Palace was the state of the art arena and the city was beautiful to play in. We had a trainer and our dressing room had a sauna, a training room and individual stalls to sit at ( not a bench like in Clinton ) and the arena could seat close to 10,000. We flew everywhere- no bus rides.

As for the city it sits in almost like a valley with mountains to the east and mountains a little bit farther to the west. There were ski slopes about an hour away, but I didn’t ski and we weren’t allowed to during the season anyway. I played there 2 years and really enjoyed my summers there. I did a lot of golfing and fishing for rainbow trout up in the mountains.

SGDC: During the 1973-74 season you made it to the NHL and the California Golden Seals for five games and 177 minutes of ice time. Tell us what that was like for you.

Ted: It was a dream comes true. I got the call to go up because Gilles Meloche had just sustained a bad cut to the back of his catching hand by a skate blade in practice so I figured maybe 2 weeks but it ended up being 3 months. I got to see every rink in the NHL that year ( 16 ) and get a win playing up there.
The disappointment was not playing in more than 5 games as the Seals were not in contention for a playoff berth so I figured I would see more action. Fred Glover was the Coach and the players hated him. There were games that we were getting beat bad and the players would look at Glover and say put the kid in and he would yell back play harder and we wouldn’t be in this situation. One game stands out. We were in Pittsburgh getting beat 7 to 1 at the end of the second. I thought maybe he would make a switch like a normal coach would. Wrong, we start the third, Pitt scores in the first couple of minutes to make it 8 to 1 and then he puts me in. I gave up a goal on a deflection in the last 2 minutes of the game.

Then it was decision time for me. Glover was fired about 2 weeks before March 3rd  which was the deadline for player movements for their farm clubs, which meant if I stayed past the deadline I couldn’t return to Salt Lake once the NHL season was over.  The new GM asked me if I would like to stay and that I was going to start the next game in MSG against the N Y Rangers or return to Salt Lake who were going to be in the playoffs and have a chance at winning the WHL championship. Believe me you don’t know how badly I wanted to stay and play in the NHL but I didn’t want my season to be over at the end of March. So I opted to go back to Salt Lake and we lost to Phoenix in the finals. Looking back I question myself sometimes because I never got back to the NHL after that but on the other hand I won 2 more rings with Toledo and Saginaw and met and made friends with a lot of people while playing in the IHL

SGDC: Beginning in the 1974-75 season you found a home in the IHL and playing with the Toledo Goaldiggers and also won your third championship. Those of us Gears fans probably do not look on that championship as sweetly as I’m sure you do, because you guys beat us in Game 7 at Wendler Arena to win the cup. Yet I’m sure the fans in Toledo were pretty happy. Tell us a bit about that season from your perspective- and don’t be shy about going long with your answer here- we really want to know.

Ted: For some reason and I don’t know why but as a goalie I played good against Saginaw from the get go but it was the complete reversal against Dayton. I struggled against Dayton. It’s a goalie thing. Garvin had his theories in the playoffs and this is how the playoffs played out that year. Teddy would rotate me with Pierre Chagnon no matter if you got a shut out or not and he did this the entire season. So against Columbus we started on the road so the first game went to Pierre knowing that Pierre felt more comfortable on the road then at home. We beat the Owls 4 games to 1 and Pierre played the 5th game. So now we face Dayton on the road and knowing how Pierre plays better on the road he starts Pierre. Everything is going according to Garvin’s plan until we get to game 5 and get blown away in Dayton. Garvin calls us a bunch of quitters after the game and tells us to run our own practice because he’s fed up with us. So we do and here he is laughing at us in the stands. Talk about reverse psychology now he’s got every player riled up against him and now we want to prove him wrong. I knew I was getting the call for game 6 at home and now I have players questioning me on how I feel, knowing I don’t play very good against Dayton. I tell everyone I’m either going to be the hero, the goat or part of the team. We won and I would say I was part of the team as the players played their hearts out that night. Now Pierre gets to play game 7 and he has the game of his life as he stops a penalty shot and we beat Dayton on the road. Now we face Saginaw in the Turner Cup finals. This was a really weird series, if I recall, as the home teams I think won one game each, also it wasn’t a defensive battle as the games were high scoring and Saginaw lost their ice due to a compressor or something breaking down for 2 weeks so it was a long drawn out series. Teddy had it set up that I would start the series in case it went 7 games. I played game 5 in Saginaw and we won so now we return to Toledo and the fans are going wild. The Sports Arena only holds 5200 so we open up the annex building and put a big screen TV in and get another 600 or more in there to watch the game in anticipation that we would win the series on our ice. Wrong, we lost as Saginaw forces a game 7 in SaginawNow everyone is scrambling to get tickets for that game. I remember the fans lining up and forming a snake line out and around the Gears box office. I remember the day of the game driving up on the bus and passing a U haul truck with the back door open and fans partying and this one fan sitting in a big old rocking chair. Just seeing things like that gets you pumped up for the biggest game of the year.

As Teddy planned it I got the call and I’m totally into this game. In warm up I’m yelling to my players to shoot harder and hit the net etc. Then we come out to start the game and the fans are yelling and the music is playing and I had a custom to reversing my goalie stick to Rock and Roll part one and playing it like a guitar in front of your fans. So now the arena is rocking. We start the game and at the end of the first we are tied 1 to 1. I felt great after that period. I don’t know what happened in the second because I let in 4 goals and I think Stu Irving had 3 of them. I would get a piece of the puck but not enough to stop it but I give my players credit for battling back to keep the score close as we end the second period down 5 to 4. So after playing like that Teddy has always been known to pull his goalies for anything. So I’m thinking to myself and also telling Pierre to get ready for the 3rd period. Teddy walks in the room and says he wants to talk with me so I figure this is it for me. He puts his hand on my shoulder and looks me right in the eye and says, "this is your game to win or lose I’m staying with you." That blew my mind because once during the season Teddy pulled me for going behind the net and trying to shoot the puck back up the boards and my stick breaking and Dayton scored because of that and that was the first goal I let in that game.

So now we start the game down 5 to 4 and the minutes are ticking down. All of a sudden we score to tie it up and then I think we scored to take the lead with about 5 minutes to play on a goal by Juri Kudrasov. So now everyone in the building is on their feet. Then there is a face off in our end and Juri takes the draw and not knowing the blade of his stick broke and I can hear Sam Sisco, who was the referee, telling him to drop his stick because Sam knew Juri didn’t know it. Unfortunately Juri’s luck ran out and Sam was forced to call the penalty. So now we are down to just over a minute Saginaw pulls their goalie and we have to play 6 on 4 for the rest of the game while Saginaw tries to tie the game up. Saginaw is all over us now and I remember them hitting the post with about 7 seconds to play then the siren going off to end the game and my players swarming on the ice and coming at me. It was a great series and I will always remember and cherish it as it was on my birthday May 7th.

SGDC: Tell us a bit about those days in Toledo playing for Ted Garven- he was quite a character.

Ted: Yes he was. He was a complete showman. We as players didn’t know what to expect sometimes during the warm ups. He sometimes would come out in different costumes like the day before “The Game” ( Mich. Vs Ohio ) he came out dressed in OSU colors and stood on the bench then went back changed quickly and came out in U of M colors. Another time he came out as superman.

I had a couple of run ins with him. Once in training camp in Kingston when I found out I was being sent to Toledo. Nobody wanted to report because heard what it was like in Toledo. He said to me you want to get paid then you better report. Case Closed. Then he said to me in our first practice in Toledo, “See that guy over there,” pointing to Paul Tantardini,” I said yes. “Well he’s going to be your roommate here in Toledo.” I said “no,” he said “yes,” I said, “No I’m just going through a divorce.” He said, “If you want to play here he’s your roommate and I want you to keep him out of trouble.” Case closed Paul became my roommate.
Teddy had a black lunch box on the wall and when things weren’t going right he would tell us to look at it and all he would say was, “The hours are greater playing hockey then working in the real world so what do you want to do?” He was a motivator. Like I said earlier when we lost to Dayton he stood in the stands and laughed at us but what he did earlier was line us all up on the goal line and asked who has won a championship, put your hands up in the air where I can see them. He then called 2 players up Darwin Mott and Kent Douglas, I guess he didn’t see my hand. He then said, “These two are winners and the rest of you are a bunch of losers. You quit on me last night well now I’m quitting on you run your own damn practice!” and stormed off the ice. It worked and we won.

He also talked to me about why he got fired in Detroit after 12 games in the NHL. He said the players wouldn’t listen to his style of coaching. He said, How can I, making $100,000, tell a guy making more than $500,000 how to play?” The players rebelled and he was out.

He was a winner though. He won 4 Turner cups and not one of his teams ever won a first place spot. He got the most out of his players back in the 70’s but then the game past him by as the IHL was changing and the players were being sent down on more pro contracts and they wouldn’t listen to him in the 80’s.
It’s amazing nobody ever wrote a book on him.

SGDC: Six of your teammates from the Clinton Comets went into the IHL following the 1971-72 season and all of them went to the Gears, Cal Hammond, who shared net-minder duties with you in Clinton, Russ Friesen, Dennis Desrosiers, Mike Legge, Murray McNeil- who had a brief stint in the AHL that same season and Brian McBratney- who went on to Flint in short order. Additionally Borden Smith came to the Gears from the Comets in the 1973-74 season. When you came to the IHL, only Cal Hammond was no longer there. That must have been like old-home week when you played against some of those guys.

Ted: It’s amazing how that happened because I left Clinton after the 71-72 season to play in Salt Lake City. Now after not seeing any of my former teammates for two seasons we all showed up in the IHL and now they are my enemies on the ice. You have to love the game of hockey.

SGDC: Following the 1975 Turner Cup win you were sent to Port Huron for the 1975-76 season, but then returned to Toledo. Tell us about that.

Ted: This was not a good year for me personally. I was getting myself in shape for the season and the night of Oct. 5 1975, I was in a very bad single car accident. The doctors didn’t know if I would live let alone play hockey again. I proved them wrong and I was back on the ice just skating with no pads December 5th 1975. After about two weeks I put the pads on and on Dec. 27th because Teddy lent me to Columbus for two weeks because one of their goalies came down with a stomach virus so they happened to be in town and I just switched dressing rooms and drove to Columbus the next day. Then Teddy sent me to Port Huron for about a month because they needed a goalie. I then returned to Toledo right before the playoffs. Then my dad past away on April 1st 1976 and Teddy called me into his office to tell me about it and he said don’t worry about the team your family comes first. So I flew home and made it back for the last game in the playoffs against Fort Wayne.

SGDC: Likewise the 1976-77 season saw you moving around a bit between Toledo and Muskegon.

Ted: This was a situation that arose over contract money and Teddy was a penny pincher plus I’m glad I left at the very beginning because if you count me ( 3 games ) they used 5 goalies that year and I felt sorry for Pierre Chagnon because Teddy put all the weight on his shoulders. Teddy told one goalie he could come to training camp but the stipulation was that he had to pay his own way all the way from out west and I believe it was Seattle, Washington. Teddy offered him a contract for $150 per week and the guy took it. So that put me as the odd man out between Pierre, myself and this guy. Then Teddy half way through the season Teddy says in the Toledo Blade newspaper that he made a mistake and should have kept me. I ended up playing in 46 games and was voted MVP of our team that year so that made me feel good after coming off my bad car accident the year before.

SGDC: Am I correct in that you played three of the seven games in the 1977 quarter finals between the Mohawks and the Gears?

Ted: Yes, and I would’ve played more except that I took a freak of a shot from Gordie Malinoski that somehow caught the inside of my shin and gave me a very bad bone bruise. We took Saginaw to the seventh game but came up short. Coach Brian McLay knew how I loved to play in Saginaw. If I’m not mistaken we were leading Saginaw 2 to 1 or 3 to 2 when I got hurt. The trainers did their best to try to protect my leg under the pads but it hurt to stop a shot so I only played 3 games. It was a great series.    

SGDC: You began the 1977-78 season in Toledo where you played 26 games and then finished the season in Port Huron playing an additional 15 games. But you are not in the stats. for the 1978-79 season, what happened there?

Ted: I was offered a factory job at AMC Jeep in Toledo right after the end of 77-78 season and I don’t know why, but maybe I could see my career nearing it’s end, so I took it. Then during the summer Teddy sold my rights to Port Huron and when it came time to talk contract I wanted a 2 year contract and Pt Huron said come to training camp to see if I could make the team. I said no, I told them that I’ve proven myself in this league and you ( the management ) know how I can play goal. So I decided it was time and I hung up my pads knowing that I had a decent paying Union Job with benefits. Well to my surprise the bottom fell out of the economy and gas prices soared and the sale of Jeeps nose dived. I was laid off after 11 ½ months on the job.

SGDC: So, you started the 1979-80 season with Dayton playing 23 games and then came to the Saginaw Gears to finish the season playing an additional 12 games. How did that transition take place?

Ted: First, let me take you back to how I got back into hockey. As I stated earlier I got laid off at Jeep so it didn’t look good for getting recalled back to Jeep. Dayton was coming back into the league and I knew the GM ( Keith Sprunk )who was starting it up. I made a call to him and asked for a tryout and he told me straight up “NO PROMISES.” I said no problem just let me take a shot at it. After sitting out a complete year I got myself back into hockey shape and made the team. Don Perry was the coach of Saginaw and we go all the way back to the EHL, when he was the coach of New Haven and I played for Clinton, so he knew what I could do to help Saginaw because they needed a back up for Bob Froese as Doug Keans got called up to the NHL. Perry knew that Dayton wasn’t going to make the playoffs so he made a deal for me.
It was a pretty easy transition since I knew most of the guys from previous years and the fans treated me really good once I arrived. It’s funny how I started in Toledo, loved playing against Saginaw and ended my career in Saginaw and ended up with Turner Cups from both teams.

SGDC: So, the 1980-81 season found you guarding the nets at the Wendler Arena for the Saginaw Gears who would, as you said, win their second Turner Cup. Coach Perry, who always professed the deep-bench theory of building a team, had done so again that season as you guys were up to your shoulder pads in talent. That included mid-season additions of players such as Warren Holmes, Claude LaRochelle, Don Waddle and John Gibson. It must have been a fun season for you.

Ted: I’m going to tell you a funny story about Wren Blair at our Turner Cup party. Here all of the players are on cloud nine at this party and Blair gets up to the podium and starts thanking us for winning the Cup but adds you guys cost me money. He says we cost him money because we didn’t play enough home games. Since we were guaranteed home ice through out the playoffs if we went 7 games each series that would mean a total of 12 games. We only played 7 home games so that’s how we cost him money. Oh well !!

SGDC: You guys steam-rolled through the second half of that season and then lost just one game in the playoffs. Did the Champaign taste any better in the home dressing room than it did in the away dressing room back in 1975?

Ted: No for the taste of Champaign because when we arrived back in Toledo after beating Saginaw in the 7th game they set the town on fire. [Laughing] An old department store building called Tiedkes was actually on fire that night.

SGDC: That's right! I guess the fire was right across the river from the arena and tons of fans were at the arena waiting to welcome you guys home. Amazing! Anyhow, you now had four championship rings and could easily do a respectable Mr. T impression. Were you then considering doing something else for a living?

Ted: No not really.  I had talked with Marcel Comeau in the off season and we had agreed on a contract for the 81-82 season and I was in training camp with the team. Unfortunately lady luck wasn’t on my side. L.A. sent 2 goalies down who were on pro contracts so once again I was the odd man out. I didn’t know what I was going to do and was thinking about taking a long trip to Florida and think out my plans for what I might do now that I was officially out of hockey.

SGDC: Tell us about what your next move was. The early 1980s were tough years to try and earn a living in the Great Lakes area- hell, I had to move to Florida just to hold a full-time job at minimum wage and pay for college, so a lot of us were making moves to get by, how did you work it out?

Ted: About two days after I got cut I got a call from Mr. MacDonald who was one of the owners of the team and he offered me a job in the front office in sales and marketing. So I never did get my trip to Florida. After working at it for about two months they fired their P.R. Director and gave the job to me. It also was a lot of long hours but I really enjoyed my job because now I got to talk with all the fans during the game. I also got to be with the players.

SGDC: And now the question that all of your fans as well as IHL fans are going to what to read the answer to; what are you up to these days?

Ted: Well a lot of things happened after the Gears went bankrupt. About two months after that happened I got called back to Jeep and worked there until I retired on May 1st 2008. I got married and had a girl and a boy. My daughter Natalie just recently graduated from EMU with a Masters degree in Occupational Therapy and is practicing in the Baltimore Maryland area. My son is working for Eby Brown in Ann Arbor MI. Unfortunately my marriage didn’t last but I guess I’m not meant to be single as I got married for the 3rd time in December 1011. I play a lot of golf in the summer as I ranger at a course called Giant Oak in Temperance, Michigan one day a week for eight hours on Saturdays and this is the best job because I get to play in three leagues for free plus all the golf I want during the week for free. I started keeping track of how many rounds a year I play. Since 2008 I’ve played 154, 218, 324, 169 and 204 in 2012. This year the weather has sucked and I’ve only played 21 rounds so far as of May 5th, 2013.

I also stayed active in hockey playing forward in a 50 and over Sunday night league, I coached my son when he was growing up into JV High School Hockey, I refereed house leagues and now I’m an assistant coach with Anthony Wayne High School Hockey Team in the Toledo area.
So, yes retirement is great both from hockey and my 30 years at Chrysler.

SGDC: You have never strayed completely away from hockey, in fact I’ve recently seen you back in the pads wearing a sweater with “TOLEDO” on it and your mask from the Goaldiggers, are ya’ still stoppin’ pucks?

Ted: Yes and no. We had an alumni game against Fort Wayne this past year and that was the first time I had put the gear back on since the 30 year reunion with the Goaldiggers in 2005. I would do a Sunday night game in my league maybe every two years just to show and give the guys a good laugh. But, this year was different because I tried the new era pads that they have and I couldn’t stop a beach ball so I dug my pads out and played with them ( they are 34 years old ). I did use the new catching glove and arm pads. Wow! What a difference they make. The catching glove is so big and the arm pads are like plated armor. I wish I had that stuff when I played. I played the first period and let in two weak goals right off the bat, but ended up stopping 12 shots and the fans loved it when I stacked my pads on a breakaway. The game ended up tied at 7 all and then we won it in a shoot out.

SGDC: Well Ted, we’ve probably taken up about as much time as we can politely expend. I’d like to thank you for agreeing to share your story here with us at Saginaw Gears Dot Com. Personally I have found that your career in hockey has been pretty darned impressive. You have also made a great addition to this site and our efforts to bring those days of the Gears, the Goaldiggers, the Mohawks, the Flags and the Gems back to life. From me and from your fans- thank you Ted.

Ted: Thank you for finding me Wes and I would like to thank all the fans and friends that I have made through out the years not only in Saginaw but all the cities that I’ve played in. You and the fans make it so enjoyable to live in the cities that support hockey. Thank you so much for having me on your site as it not only brings back memories for the fans but also it brought a lot of old memories back for me too.
Hockey is the greatest sport out there and right now these Stanley Cup Playoffs have been excellent to watch. 

GO LEAFS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Good night and God Bless Everyone for being there for me.

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