I can check something off of my bucket list, now.
I’ve played hockey with Rick Middleton.
You know him. I promise. He was drafted 14th overall by the New York Rangers in 1973, and traded to the Bruins in one of the most one-sided trade deals in NHL history for Kenny Hodge. Hodge went on to play one more season with the Rangers, and Middleton went on to kick butt and take names in Bean Town, scoring a hat trick in his first game in Black and Gold, co-captaining the team with Ray Bourque, scoring career highs of 51 goals a season, and taking home the Lady Byng in 1982.
Oh, and he was an Olympian.
Yeah, that Rick Middleton.
He poke checked me at the blue line, reversed directions and scored one on zero on our poor goalie. I’d say I was embarrassed but, it all happened so fast I was in awe. The 61 year-old could move.
That was the Jason Ritchie Hockey Foundation’s and Winchendon’s annual Hockey Day for me. Getting robbed by Rick Middleton and poked and prodded while defending against Dave Shaw as right wing (drafted 13th overall by the Quebec Nordiques the year Middleton won the Lady Byng).