Train in Vain: The Herb Pinder Story | Canucks History
PACIFIC COLISEUM. October, 1969. The opening night of the WHL season. Herb Pinder is excited, naturally. He has been training for this game; he has come to know his new team, the Vancouver Canucks. He likes the goalie, Bud Gardner. Bud has been in and out of the big leagues – he played for Detroit – and is a funny guy. He tells stories about being chauffeured in a limousine to CPHL games in Memphis, and confesses in the dressing room that he’d usually wear glasses, if not for the fear of getting dropped. He has the eye exam memorized, he says to Herb.
“E, F P, T O Z… L P E D,” Bud carries on.
It’s the sort of stoicism Herb likes in a goalkeeper; it’s one of the reasons he signs the contract so readily.
There are provisions in the document that Herb expects. $750, a bonus for winning the WHL’s Lester Patrick Cup. $500 for topping the league in the season standings. A salary of $6,500. It’s a figure that smarts a little. Herb has already declined a $5,000 scholarship, offered to all members of the Olympic team. He knows he should be in Winnipeg, preparing to study. But Herb Pinder lives for ice hockey, and when he meets with his new coach and manager, Joe Crozier, he doesn’t bring up their agreements about his education just yet. He doesn’t want anything to distract from the start of the season, and Joe’s stubbornness can be hard to deal with. Besides, the adrenaline is starting to flow; fans are already streaming to their seats. His jersey – home blue, with white and red stripes – hangs in the dressing room. He’ll sport number 15.
Note: I have only recently started hockey blogging - I'm an experienced writer, but relatively new to the game - and I find it very much rewarding. This is my first step into hockey history. I was doing a bit of research and it just seemed like a good tale to bring out. I'd like to have gone into more depth, but a digital format begs for short, sharp reads.
I'd love to know if anyone has direct experience with this episode - I guess it was a while ago now. I'm also really interested in hearing about small, interesting points in the Vancouver Canucks' history. I also found the relationship between Vancouver and Mike Robitaille fascinating, but not being a Canadian native I have no idea if that's worth putting into a narrative, or if it's already been played out in bad made-for-TV snippets, or whatever. Interested in what people think!