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Bobby Orr inspires awe at New York book signing

Tuesday, 10.22.2013 / 7:55 PM / NHL Insider

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- The Bobby Orr book tour came to the NHL offices Tuesday when the 65-year-old Hall of Fame defenseman continued to promote his memoir, "Orr: My Story."

VIDEO OF BOBBY ORR IN NYC

During three hours in Manhattan, Orr sat down with NHL.com for an interview, met with Commissioner Gary Bettman, appeared on "NHL Live" on NHL Network, and conducted a book signing for 150 people that lasted longer than the 60 minutes it was scheduled for because he wanted to make sure he got to everyone's copy.

From men wearing suits to women wearing Orr sweaters to young hockey players, Orr made a point to shake everybody's hand and thank them for coming.

The line stretched outside of the NHL Powered by Reebok Store onto 47th Street. Comments like "That's Bobby Orr" and "I can't believe that's him" were heard from people waiting for their turn at the table.

All of them smiled. Some of them cried.

"Am I red?" a blushing Colleen Manley, from Scranton, Pa., told NHL.com after meeting Orr and getting a picture with him. "This is a great day."

Manley drove with her boyfriend, Charlie Krayer, early Tuesday morning to make sure she was one of the lucky 150 who received a bracelet in order to get on the line and get her book signed.

They got to the store at 7 a.m. The doors opened at 9. She was No. 3 in line. Charlie was No. 2.

"He's the greatest," Manley said of Orr.

After Hailey Schacht got her book signed and a handshake, the 7-year-old from Cresskill, N.J., told her parents, "I'm never washing this hand again." All she knew of Orr was that he is a legend.

It wasn't long ago Orr wondered why anybody would want to read a book he wrote despite his lofty stature in the sports world. He thought he didn't have enough interesting things to say.

MORE BOBBY ORR COVERAGE

  • Check back in with NHL.com on Sunday as Bobby Orr will be featured in our Sunday Long Read.

"I've been approached many times about doing a book, and I just didn't feel that I could put something on paper that people would take something from," Orr told NHL.com. "I didn't want to do a book just to do a book. I wanted to do a book that if you should read it, you might take one thing from it. Until that was clear in my mind, I wasn't going to do one. Hopefully, I've done that. I go a lot of different directions in the book, and hopefully if you read it, you take something from it."

The book takes the reader through Orr's youth in Parry Sound, Ontario, skating on the Georgian Bay and the Seguin River, playing hockey in the street and in parks. He describes his parents, Doug and Arva, as the people who instilled in him the values he cherishes and lives by today.

Orr writes about his time with the Oshawa Generals and dives deep into his championship years with the Boston Bruins. He tells stories of teammates, coaches, friends, mentors and family members.

He has a full chapter dedicated to Don Cherry, whom Orr thinks should be in the Hall of Fame as a builder. He dedicated a chapter to Alan Eagleson, his former friend and agent who took so much from him and many other players and paid dearly for it. Eagleson was convicted of fraud, embezzlement and racketeering, was disbarred, resigned from the Hockey Hall of Fame, and removed from the Order of Canada.

Purchase Orr: My Story

The book ends with Orr's thoughts on the state of the game and a message for parents who have children playing hockey.

The man who won the Norris Trophy eight times, the Hart Trophy three times, and had six seasons of 100 points or more, rarely mentions any of his achievements.

"I wasn't going to do a book of stats," Orr said. "If you want to go look at stats, you guys at the NHL have books. That wasn't what I wanted to do. I wanted to do a book that if you're a young player coming through, make sure you know that there are family members making sacrifices, mom and dad making sacrifices. I wanted to make sure that a parent gets a message that if they think they have the next Sidney Crosby, how it should be approached.

"People I met along the way, the sacrifices my family made for me, the people that helped me along the way, I think that's more interesting, and that was what I wanted to talk about. The stats are stats. You can find those a lot of places, but I think the story is better."

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I was in there icing my face as she was trying to push a baby out.

— Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf on going to the hospital with a facial laceration while his wife was in labor following Game 1 on Wednesday