Ray Norman had two names at the top of his list of NHL alumni that he wanted to meet at the Hockey Day in Canada gala banquet Thursday night at the Civic Centre — Wendell Clark and Darcy Tucker.
Those were the two names the Corner Brook resident pointed to in his souvenir booklet when asked why he attended the high profile event.
The Corner Brook man, decked out in his No. 43 Nazem Kadri jersey, is a die-hard Toronto Maple Leafs fan who loved watching Clark and Tucker provide the excitement for Saturday night television during the cold winters of western Newfoundland.
Norman sat among a group of friends who found themselves surrounded by a rainbow of hockey jerseys as some of hockey’s great legends shared an evening of storytelling with Don Cherry and Ron McLean of Coach’s Corner — making an appearance before an enthusiastic crowd.
Norman liked how Clark and Tucker were able to put points on the board while willing to play a physical brand of hockey and willing to fight anybody if they had to during a game where tensions rose.
“I love all of these older guys because this is who I grew up with,” Norman said before the gala event.
“I couldn’t wait to get home and watch hockey on Saturday night.”
He’s hoping this year’s edition of the Leafs get over a recent slide and earn a playoff spot, but on this night he was just willing to relax and enjoy seeing so many great hockey people assembled in one place.
While he was in an upbeat mood about seeing guys who impressed him on the ice, he was eager to see MacLean and Cherry because he loves their antics and he wanted to see how colourful Cherry was going to be on this particular night.
“There’s no holds barred with Don Cherry,” he said.
Norman appreciates having a chance to see some of his hockey heroes and grab a snap or two and pick up a few autographs during Hockey Day in Canada events, but more importantly he thought it was great for the community to have such a big event held in the city.
“It’s a big boost just to have a flock of people moving around the city,” he said. “Everybody is out and everybody is alive. Everybody is talking about the hype because we don’t get this kind of stuff very often.”