His skates like wings flew up the ice,
Hair blown back, a modern god,
Held Habs’ torch against all odds.
Nothing but his best sufficed.
From end to end he moved so fast,
The plays he made were poetry
As fans jumped up to cheer for Guy.
But flowers wilt and no reigns last.
And when the goals dried up for good,
He ached inside to score again,
To rule all rinks once his domain:
A checking line his livelihood.
Sad, he left the game past prime
Knew gods can not stickhandle Time.


A rare sonnet of olde with a Shakespearean rhyming couplet. A 1986 Alberta Poetry Yearbook award-winner. Around grade 2, I was delighted to find my name twice no less in the newspaper NHL scoring race: M. Richard, H. Richard–my first connection to the great Montreal teams of the ’50s. I eventually received the proverbial hockey sweater–Les Canadiens–for Xmas and cheered them on to several cups. First-masked Jacques Planted inspired me to try goaltending in Pee Wee. I later came back to the Habs around ’72, during the Robinson-Dryden years–the next delightful dynasty. Eventually that crew drafted Guy. In the above poem, we pick up his story as he aged and faded into retirement. The topic is an old cliché, as clunky as Housman’s “To an Athlete Dying Young”. The context this time is Canadian, though, so the sport had to be h—–. BTW, Lafleur was the direct, flashy predecessor of #99.

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