NEWS NEWS AND MORE NEWS I am going to get all of my memories down, before I forget what I remember!. . . . quote from Stanley Forman

21Nov/108

Boston Bruins 1969-The Rest Of The Story

Fred Stan­field, Don Awry, Ken Hodge, Ron Mur­phy, Johnny “Pie“McKenzie, Dan For­re­stal, Wayne Cash­man, Bobby Orr, Glen Sather, John Bucyk, Eddy West­phal, Phil Espos­ito, Dan Canny

I was cov­er­ing the Bru­ins prac­tice in 1968–1969 dur­ing their play­off run the year before they won the Stan­ley Cup.  D. Leo Mon­a­han, the great hockey writer for the Record Amer­i­can, came out of the Bru­ins locker room to get me while I was shoot­ing stuff on the ice and said, “Bobby wants a team photo.”

Bobby Orr had received a poster from a group of sol­diers in Viet­nam and Orr wanted a team photo with the poster to send back to the sol­diers.  I took this photo of the group.

I saw every game Bobby Orr played at Boston Gar­den includ­ing games when the Oshawa Gen­er­als, his minor league team, played at the Gar­den. I had two sea­son tick­ets for sec­tion 73 Row C, seats 3 & 4.  I even had a Bru­ins stock­ing hat that I would wear at work and around the office and of course every­one got their laughs from that.

The first time I saw Orr in per­son was when I went to the Gar­den with UPI pho­tog­ra­phers Don Robin­son and George Riley for his first offi­cial prac­tice as a Boston Bruin.  He was there with Giles Marotte and as a hockey fan and future news pho­tog­ra­pher this was big.

We cov­ered Orr all the time and when he got hurt at an away game I was sent to Logan Air­port for his return along with Globe Pho­tog­ra­pher Char­lie Carey. In those days you could get down to the air­line ter­mi­nal but Bobby was none too friendly with us, as he was hurt­ing. It was not his usual demeanor.  On the other hand, Phil Espos­ito, who walk­ing with Orr tried to pacify us, being friendly but also try­ing to get us away from Orr.

I remem­ber many times I was asked to cover events with Bru­ins play­ers. One time, the two Espos­ito broth­ers were doing some kind of pro­mo­tion for either an air­line or a travel agency and we were out on the run­away while Tony and Phil waved to the cam­eras.  It was fun and funny.  I did a visit with Gar­nett “Ace” Bai­ley and his wife just before they got mar­ried. They were such a nice cou­ple and it is truly sad that Ace lost his life in the 9/11 ter­ror­ism.   A home visit with Ken Hodge was great, as I took a photo of Ken stand­ing in front of his fig­ure 8 swim­ming pool. I was wel­come to his home as if I was one of his family.

I only cov­ered a few Bru­ins hockey games; but, the few I cov­ered were mem­o­rable. As a sea­son ticket holder, I knew that Jacques Plante always skated off the ice with the stick in the air if he won a game.  They were play­ing on a Sat­ur­day after­noon and I got to cover the game. I planned this photo all game and when the Bru­ins won I got a great photo of him skat­ing off as he always did with the goalie stick up and a huge smile on his face.

The year before they won the Stan­ley Cup I cov­ered a game that you could almost con­sider a riot.  Lots of fights with Forbes Kennedy of the Toronto Maple Leafs going wild dur­ing an 11–0 Bru­ins win. The ice was wild and so was the crowd.  What a night!

Bobby and a group of rookie hockey play­ers became friends with a group of girls from Revere and I got to meet him at one of the girl’s homes. It was excit­ing to meet the future Mr. Hockey.

When the Bru­ins won the Stan­ley Cup in 1972 beat­ing the New York Rangers at New York, I was at Logan Air­port and on the run­away when they got off the plane, another excit­ing hap­pen­ing.  The only prob­lem was Bobby got off the plane next to a woman who I thought was his girl­friend (future wife) and went with that for the newspaper’s story. Only prob­lem was she actu­ally worked in the Bru­ins office and I iden­ti­fied her wrong. I found out by tak­ing the photo to Bob Crane the State Treasurer.

When Ray Lussier made the great photo of Orr scor­ing the win­ning goal in their 1970 Stan­ley Cup win, I was at the game in my seats and after the game I went to the office.  There was Mike Andersen’s great photo of young Bobby Orr drink­ing cham­pagne from the top of the Cup.

Ray Lussier saw me and told me to fol­low him. He took me to the photo engrav­ing depart­ment where back then engrav­ings were made to put pic­tures in the paper. There it was one of the best hockey pic­tures ever and he was so proud, Orr in the air after shoot­ing the over­time goal to beat St. Louis Blues.

I just looked up at the TV while typ­ing this and on NESN  there is a spe­cial on the Bru­ins and Bobby Orr fly­ing through the air and they are talk­ing about the Lussier photo.

I have lots of Bru­ins pho­tos to post in the future and have most of the neg­a­tives from the above stories.

Now the rest of the story about the Bru­ins group photo from 1969.

In Sep­tem­ber of 2010 I was con­tacted by a friend of the artist who drew the poster for this photo.  We exchanged sev­eral emails and then I exchanged emails with the artist who actu­ally drew the poster from Viet Nam.  The fol­low­ing is his story.

My Boston Bru­ins Viet­nam Poster Story By Don­ald Souliere

I first learned my reserve unit was being acti­vated for Viet­nam duty from the local news­pa­pers’ front page head­lines. They con­tained a list of all the reserve units acti­vated.  My 513th Main­te­nance Bat­tal­ion was on that list.

We left the Boston Army base and left my new com­mer­cial art career behind one cold morn­ing in Octo­ber. An Army con­voy was tak­ing us to Fort Dix New Jer­sey to be retrained for our over­seas duty. I thought I would not have the oppor­tu­nity to exer­cise my graphic design skills for at least a year; how wrong I was.

We flew out of Fort Dix in a troop trans­port plane. I slept most of the time to make the trip seem shorter. We arrived in Alaska to refuel. It was the first time I had ever seen any­thing like Alaska’s Blue Moun­tains. I had never trav­eled before. Now I was going to Japan and finally to Da Nang, Vietnam.

I stepped out of the plane and saw for the first time the Viet­nam that I had seen so many times in the news. It was a hum­bling moment. A con­voy was wait­ing to take us to Phubai. On the road to our new home the con­voy had to stop for a short time because the Marines were hav­ing a fire fight to clear a bridge of dan­ger so we could safely cross. Wel­come to Vietnam.

A few weeks prior I was sketch­ing fam­i­lies enjoy­ing the swan boats in the Boston Pub­lic Gar­den. A few months later I was in a bunker with a 30 cal­iber machine gun on guard duty on the “perime­ter” out­side the com­pound for the 513th. The army shot up flares dur­ing the night to illu­mi­nate the rice paddy fields in front of us so we could see up to the tree lines.  We hoped we wouldn’t see any­thing mov­ing. I was a reg­u­lar GI Joe just like the movies. Except this was not a movie.

I really believed the oppor­tu­nity to exer­cise my graphic skills in a com­bat zone would be nil. To my sur­prise I was used imme­di­ately by the Army as a graphic artist as soon as they checked my civil­ian occu­pa­tion. I did illus­tra­tion of trucks for their main­te­nance man­u­als. I did posters to warn our sol­diers of the pos­si­ble dan­gers they might encounter such as sab­o­tage, booby traps etc. I did mar­quee signs for the com­pounds for the Marines and our own bat­tal­ion insignia for our compound.

While in Phubai I was approached by 3 sol­diers to do a poster to cheer the Boston Bru­ins hockey team quest for the Stan­ley Cup. They mailed the poster all the way to the Boston Bru­ins. I used a Newsweek sport sec­tion photo for ref­er­ence on the slap shot pos­ture for the bear. I used Sports Illus­trated photo for the Bru­ins uni­form and I had a book on ani­mals to use for ref­er­ence to draw the bear. I used a Speed ball pen for the let­ter­ing and a brush and ink tech­nique to do the bear. I never real­ized at the time that my poster would be in one of the most famous Boston Bru­ins hockey team pho­tos ever.

After 3 months in Phubai I was recruited by the Army as a Com­bat Artist and was trans­ferred to Da Nang Com­mand Head­quar­ters. I never saw the sol­diers again and com­pletely for­got about the Bru­ins poster. I did not see the poster again until five years ago in the office of a Bru­ins fan. As I looked at the photo I said, “I did that.” After that the “I did that” got around very quickly. Later I dis­cov­ered the photo was in a book “A Cen­tury of Boston Sports,” it was hang­ing in the T.D. Gar­dens, and sold in stores sports photo section.

My last duty in Phubai before being trans­ferred to Da Nang was to escort a Viet­namese truck to deliver used wood to a dump for the Army. On the way I spoke to the Viet­namese in French and we made friends. As we drove by their vil­lage they had me over for lunch. They gave me “Tiger” beer and chicken wings.

In Da Nang the famous Navy SEABEAS built me a draft­ing table in the Com­mand Head­quar­ters where I did full color illus­tra­tions depict­ing our sol­diers in every­day life in Viet­nam. The illus­tra­tion where intended to be used as pic­to­r­ial doc­u­men­ta­tion for pros­per­ity.  As a com­bat artist I got to fly in a Huey heli­copter tak­ing pic­tures of the sur­round­ing com­pound area that I would later use to make a large draw­ing. It was pre­sented to a gen­eral for his out­stand­ing efforts dur­ing his years of ser­vice in Vietnam.

Dur­ing my Viet­nam tour in Da Nang, I was on duty 14 hours a day start­ing at 5:00 am. After spend­ing my day doing illus­tra­tions, I was off duty at 7:00pm. We did not always get the rest we wanted. The Viet­cong would hit us with rock­ets. These attacks would hap­pen mostly late at night. One time they hit an ammu­ni­tion dump a quar­ter of a mile away. It exploded all night with the smoke float­ing over us with flashes of lights from the explo­sions. We were told an attack was pos­si­ble and to stay on guard duty with our M16. After 36 hours they gave the all clear sig­nal. There would be no attack. The only casu­al­ties were some of my posters/signs that had shrap­nel holes in them.

I fin­ished my tour and went back home where the mem­ory of the poster and Viet­nam expe­ri­ences faded over time.

Don­ald Souliere, Spe­cial­ist E5, US Army, Vietnam