My column in today's Globe and Mail about the Toronto Maple Leafs that drew on references to 1967 resulted in some responses.
The best was from former Globe sports writer and all-round sports legend Louis Cauz. He was there in 1967 and e-mailed to set the record straight on my flip characterization of the differences between the media in 1967 and today.
Here is his response:
Hi Dave: As one of the few survivors (media-wise) of that Stanley Cup victory (my first season on hockey as a G&M reporter) the media coverage 43 years ago hardly bares any resemblance to the coverage the NHL and Leafs receive today.
Let me count the ways.
Leaf practices were usually covered by the three newspapers - Globe, Star and Telegram. Occasionally a Canadian Press writer would be on hand if something was brewing. You might get CFRB (Bill Stephenson) and CHUM (Brian Hall), but rarely.
Usually in the playoffs, I would focus on player profiles. We had exclusive interviews in those days. PR departments were barely existent. Didn't need permission to talk to a star player; or visitor for that matter.
Nobody covered the afternoon skate.
The press box on game nights (proper attire, no jeans, running shoes; suit and tie, of course) would have the three dailies covering. Sometimes a color/dressing room guy was on hand, as the beat reporter had to do the scoring summary and play-by-play for early editions. CP, Hamilton Spectator and Oshawa paper often were there as well and the two radio stations. Maybe a TV guy, too. Oh yes, and (Leafs PR man) Stan Obodiac with his "notes".
Reporters often ate and drank with the coaches, etc., and caroused around with them after games on the road. We socialized with the players in many ways. Players' transgressions (and coaches') were hush-hush. A media person's hotel room might be used for a player who got lucky and you had to bunk down in his room overnight.
On one occasion, The Globe got a huge scoop of an interview with Imlach in hospital at a time when nobody was aware where Punch was and what he was being treated for. When I presented the scoop to our sports editor and managing editor, I was told to play it down so as not to embarrass the staff at Toronto General. The story was played on page two of the sports section with a small headline. It was front-page stuff for the Tely's and Star's afternoon editions the next day.
Yes, it was different. Don't know if a 77-year-old could handle the b.s. today. I couldn't believe the coverage a college rookie recently received every day on The Fan. It was their lead item in every sportscast. He may practice; he may suit up; he may play; he did play. Hmmmmm.
Lou (I was there 1966 - 1969) Cauz