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Magazine excerpt: Cold War

by Bob Verdi / Chicago Blackhawks

The following is excerpted from the February 2016 issue of Blackhawks Magazine. Pick up the newest issue of the magazine at the next Blackhawks home game, or by calling the Blackhawks Store at 312-759-0079.


 


It was against the North Stars that Savard authored his first-but not last-fantastic spin-o-rama goal, treating defenseman Daniel Berger like a traffic cone. It was against the North Stars that Hall of Fame broadcaster Pat Foley voiced his famous "BAAANNNERRMAN!" call when Blackhawks goalie Murray Bannerman stoned Keith Acton, who stripped the normally reliable Bill Gardner of the puck on a Chicago power play and embarked on a breakaway.

 

"I made Pat famous that night," asserted Gardner, who later became Foley's sidekick in the booth.

It was also against the North Stars that the two teams couldn't wait for the puck to drop. During one pregame warmup at the Stadium, Shane Churla of the North Stars and Wayne Van Dorp of the Blackhawks initiated the unpleasantries. Everybody joined in, while Foley, who was dining with supervisor and Hall of Fame linesman Matt Pavelich in the bowels of the Stadium, heard giant roars from above.

"Matt's eyes became as big as saucers," Foley recounted. "The game officials were still in their room. Nobody was on the ice to restore peace. Matt got up, took two steps, came back to grab two more buns, then ran upstairs."

Troy Murray, the Blackhawks' current analyst on WGN Radio AM-720, also partook in the mayhem.

"Seven seconds into a playoff game against them," he said. "I checked Dave Richter into the boards. Big guy. He came after me and opened me up like a pumpkin. I had cuts over both eyes, lost a contact lens. I wound up just swatting at his feet. I went down for repairs. Played one more shift all night, face swollen, could barely see. Naturally, on that one shift, I ran into Brent Ashton. He was ready to go. Then he took one look at me and said, 'Haven't you had enough for one night?'"

Cold war intra-city commerce figured to be non-negotiable, at least until 1988, when the North Stars traded Dirk Graham to the Blackhawks for the popular and sturdy Curt Fraser. Graham got wind of a possible deal, and there was only one place he didn't want to go.

"Chicago," said Graham. "Our two teams hated each other. When I heard I was going there, my first reaction was 'Oh, no.' The first couple days with the Blackhawks, it was a little chilly. But Troy, who was close with Curt and skated with him, was great. He came over to me and said, 'Anything I can do to help you here, let me know.'"

Graham went on to become a Selke Trophy winner, Blackhawks captain and head coach.

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