by Irvin Muchnick
You meet the coolest people in my line of work. You already know about my friendship with the unsinkable George Visger, author of our ebook OUT OF MY HEAD: My Life In and Out of Football. Yesterday I had a delightful half-hour phone conversation with the one and only Allan Grobensky, a former pro hockey “policeman.” (You can look him up at http://icehockey.wikia.com/wiki/Alan_Globensky, which misspells his first name and provides a mug shot from his salad days, complete with 1970s jewfro.) A few days earlier he had sent me the email whose full text is below.
Allan was drafted by the Minnesota North Stars in 1971. This was four years after I started following the St. Louis Blues when the National Hockey League expanded from its original six teams. I was at the St. Louis Arena to see Ronnie Schock’s double-overtime goal in Game 7 against the North Stars, which sent the Blues into the Stanley Cup Finals, to be squashed in four straight games for the first of three straight years, before “the curse of Scotty Bowman” set in. But that’s another story.
Also in 1968, the North Stars’ Bill Masterton became the first on-ice fatality in NHL history. That led to the phasing in of helmets for all players.
But as Allan tells the story, helmets have as little to do in ameliorating cumulative brain trauma in hockey as they do in football. Focused as I have been on the $10 billion-a-year National Football League gorilla and its feeder systems all the way down to Pop Warner chimpanzees, I have paid less attention to the other main North American collision team sport. I hope to make up for that with a series of posts dictated by Allan, who pushes a specific narrative of how he believes hockey got transformed for the worse in the 1970s and 80s. While his viewpoint is as subject to critical scrutiny as anyone else’s, bear in mind that he played in the wild-and-woolly minor North American Hockey League with the notorious Hanson brothers, who would be immortalized in the cult-classic movie Slapshot.
In the meantime, enjoy and reflect on the following unedited stream of Allan Grobensky consciousness — which, yes, doubles as a fan letter for my new book CONCUSSION INC. Allan cheerfully gave me permission to run his message intact. “I don’t care about my ego,” he said. “What I care about is that so many of my old friends and colleagues have damaged brains, and no one is doing anything about it.”
Welcome , been lonely out here , over the hill that is over the fence , way out in left field .This is where most of my friends , acquaintances ,and some of my family believe is where i’ve resided for the better part of my life .
My name is Allan Globensky , former minor league hockey ” G O O N ” , if you’ve seen the movie Slap – Shot , that is based on the league we played in when hockey became totally unhinged in the 70’s.
Your book may be , no , is the best piece of investigative journalism since Watergate was concocted , but that is a stretch , i love to read , the problem is remembering what it was i just read .
My career was one of either i’m gonna fight then sit on the bench till next time needed to fight , or play and fight in the minors .They have me down for 44 fights , add another 20 or so for my youth career as well as getting jumped by more than 2 players on at least 4 occasions , add in 4 exhibition games played for the local pro football team here in Montreal , and they figure , pick a number after 30 ” BRAIN BRUISES ” , which is the name of a book i have been trying to finish for some 35 years or so.
Now the ” T H E Y ” in those lines is a hospital in the city where your book was published , Baycrest .Whom are trying to discover more info on concussions , and their later effects on humans .
A new friend and also former “Policemen” years ago and i , plus a bunch of unbelievable egotistical neurologist’s have been trying to create a ” SUICIDE HOT LINE ” , where we can talk to each other with some MEDICAL ( ? ) guidelines .He is the brains of the operation and was / still is years ahead of the low – lifes; that control the N.H.L. his name is Bob Lemieux , played for Vancouver and L.A. i believe.
Check out info on the VAGUS nerve , every scum – bag that’s been running your country and mine don’t have one , well starting with that ” b ” movie actor in the 80’s ….. how Orwellian ?????
Have tried to join the 4 so called concussion groups floating around in North Ameri”KKK”ia , but my guess is as you say the N.H.L. is footing the bill for these guys to show parents how to fit a helmet properly and what Brain specialist to call in the area .
Unfortunately we need a ” MARTYR ” , and not just anyone that the media can forget about in a week or 3 , someone like a Crosby at centre ice on national t.v. , or maybe Brady on the 43 yard line . god forbid …..
Anything i can do to help the cause , please , cut me loose ….
To you ‘n yours , have a wonderful life .
don’t worrt about the mis-spelling or marks in the wrong places , i don’t .