Twas the Night Before Game 7

On the way home from work I started thinking that it was the night before game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. I decided to grab my phone and start orally recording a poem (loosely to the beat of “Twas the Night Before Christmas”). Here’s what I came up with. Not perfect, but hey, I was driving. Go Bruins!

Twas the night before game 7, I lay pondering the fate
Of how my team would fair, in a sport done on skates
B-lievers were nestled, nervously in bed
With dreams of a Stanley Cup hoist o’er head

I curled up in my sweater, and whispered a plea,
That the Stanley Cup winners, would wear a spoked-B.
And back in New England,
I needn’t be told
My fellow B-lievers wore black and wore gold.

When down in the hall, I heard the crack of a door,
I sprang from my bed as I heard a loud roar.
I ran down the stairs to see what was abuzz,
And found a tall creature standing, all covered in fuzz.

He didn’t say much, but it knew from his stare,
This was none other than the famed Bruins bear.
His eyes didn’t twinkle, no cheeks like a rose,
He was brown, he was hairy, wit
h a long snoutish nose.

When he stood on his hind legs, oh what a sight,
I couldn’t believe what was happening that night.
More rapid than slap shots, he started to name,
All the bears who would play a role in this game.

“Score David Krejci, and Ryder, and Marchand,
Lead us Big Chara, and Recchi, and Bergeron,
Show us your heart, young Lucic and Seguin,
Prove to the world this is your moment to win.

Be strong on the blue line, Tomas and Dennis,
The same message goes out to Adam and Ference,
Be in the moment Shawn, Paille and Boychuk,
Timmy Thomas protect as you dive for the puck.

Shane Hnidy and Kampfer, and goaltender Rask,
You are Boston Bruins, with or without mask.
In all that you do, be a part of this team,
As you bleed black and gold and follow this dream.

Campbell and Kelly, Peverley and Kaberle
You have made it this far, continue to play.
Work hard in your battles in corners and walls,
Now grind away! Grind away! Grind away all.

Do it for Chief, Cam, Ray, Dit and Orr,
Do it for Hitchman, Milt, Terry and Shore.
Do it for Savvy, and the pride in your chest,
Do it for Horton, and the ‘B’ on your crest.”

With a tear in my eye, matched by one in his fur,
Our hearts filled with longing Lord Stanley could cure.
We both knew our mission, this Game 7 Eve,
No matter what happened, we had to B-lieve.

“I’m off to Vancouver” he said with a roar,
He waved his right paw, and made way for the door.
As I watched the bear travel, away from my sight,
I heard him say surely “Tomorrow’s our night.”


Women of the Stanley Cup: Marguerite Norris

I have often spoken about my dream of being one of the handful of women to have her name engraved on the Stanley Cup. Many outside the hockey community don’t realize that the top executives of a Stanley Cup winning team also get their name on the trophy. So far, 12 women have earned this special honor.
Over the next few weeks I aim to tell their stories.
First up is Marguerite Norris.
Yes, that James Norris.

Marguerite Norris was just about as close as you can get to hockey royalty. Her dad was the legendary James Norris, who in the 1930s purchased the Detroit Falcons franchise—promptly changing the name to the Red Wings.

Despite owning the team, the Norris family didn’t often make it out to games. James had a heart condition, which forced him to stay in Chicago for much of his tenure as team president. Still, he managed to stay plenty informed about the goings on of the team, connecting with coach/GM Jack Adams (yup, that Jack Adams) by phone after each game.

While unable to travel far from his home in Lake Forest, Illinois, James taught his family to love the game of hockey as well. Standing just one inch shy of six feet tall, Marguerite used to play goalie during family hockey games. Although she shared her father’s interest in the game, Marguerite pursued her owns interests as well, earning a degree from Smith College, then working for Dun & Bradstreet in New York and West Farm Management in Chicago.

When James passed away from a heart attack on December 4, 1952, Marguerite took over control as president of the Red Wings per her father’s wishes. Although she had attend many games in Chicago and New York, the game she attended on December 18 of that year was first Red Wings game she had seen at Detroit’s Olympia Stadium in 20 years (in case you were wondering, the Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs tied 1-1).

Not much has been documented about Marguerite’s time with the Red Wings, but the team finished in first place during the three seasons she was at the helm. Marguerite was not shy about her disdain for coach Jack, but Mr. Adams remained the Red Wings head coach and guided the team to two Stanley Cups under Marguerite’s reign (1954, 1955). During the 1955 off-season, Marguerite lost an intrafamily struggle to her brother Bruce, who took over the team until 1982.

After leaving hockey, Marguerite moved to Connecticut and pursued an interest in raising cattle and horses. In her adopted hometown of Southbury, she was introduced to John Riker, the man she would marry in 1960. John was a graduate of the University of Alaska, had a master’s degree from Columbia University, and worked in the television business. While running their farm, the Rikers established themselves as leaders in the American Quarter Horse community. They were instrumental in introducing English events to the circuit and developed a popular breed of horses.

Marguerite died from heart failure in Connecticut on May 12, 1994. Her memory is honored each year with a scholarship to a graduating student at Nonnewaug High School—an agricultural high school not far from where she and John owned their farm. The scholarship goes to a student who excels in math, science and athletics and has financial need.

If you have any more information on Marguerite Norris, please post a comment or get in touch via email.