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PODCAST: The Original Devil, Chico Resch

The great Chico Resch, an original Devil, a long-time goaltender, broadcaster, and awesome human, joins the Devils podcast

by Sam Kasan / Special to NewJerseyDevils.com

After John McMullen bought the Colorado Rockies in 1982, he relocated the franchise to New Jersey. And along with the franchise, he relocated the team's goaltender, too.

McMullen sent a private plane to pick up netminder Glenn 'Chico' Resch, who played the previous season-and-a-half in Colorado and brought him to New Jersey.

"I only signed because Billy MacMillan was general manager and we played together," Resch said. "I was a free agent. The Rangers were negotiating - I would have never gone to the Rangers just so we're clear - but I told him there were a couple of other teams. He said, 'Chico you have to sign with us, with the Devils. I just got the job. I got a new owner. You're my good friend. If I can't get you to sign, I may be out of a job tomorrow.'"

Luckily, MacMillan still had his job the following day as Resch became the Devils' first free-agent signing.

"Being an original Devil is kind of special for me," Resch said. "I don't have a lot of things that I can say, this is one thing you can't take away from me. I was the first one signed.

"I was there at ground zero when this franchise started. It was just a nice memory."

Resch, who serves as New Jersey's radio color analyst, collected quite a few more memories in a Devils uniform over the first next three-and-a-half seasons of the Devils' existence. He played a bulk of the games for a struggling team while becoming beloved by the fanbase.

Resch, who served as a TV analyst for 15 years before joining the radio side, played his final game for New Jersey in a game against Philadelphia in 1986. And it was memorable as well.

"Saturday we played the Flyers and I had a really good game," Resch, 72, recalled. "They had Rick Tocchet and a tough team. Dave Lewis was jostling with Rick Tocchet in front of the net and Rick Tocchet dropped his stick. So I got my goalie stick on the end of his stick and shot his stick away. And he looked at me, and said, 'You're dead.' Rick was a good guy. He didn't punch me. But he grabbed me and threw me down, tore my mask off a little bit."

Before the Devils' next games, Resch sat at his locker when general manager Max McNab approached. He asked to speak in the stick room. That's where Resch found out he had played his final game as a Devil and was traded to Philadelphia.

The next day, Resch was driving down the Jersey turnpike and pulled off at exit 4. He prayed and thought to himself: "Lord, do I really want to do this? Can I really go into the enemy's camp?" Resch's career was winding down, and he considered just ending it. But he decided to suck it up, and continued driving.

Resch arrived at the Flyers' practice rink. He started walking around the room, shaking hands and introducing himself. Until he arrived at Tocchet's stall. The Flyers' forward jumped up immediately and embraced Resch.

"He said, 'Chico, I'm sorry I had to jump you and ragdoll you,'" Resch recounted. "But you know our coach, Mike Keenan. He saw you shoot my stick away. If I didn't react to that I would have gone back to the bench and he would have been all over me. So I had to grab you. I didn't hurt you, did I?'"

Resch ended his career in Philadelphia following the 1987 season, which saw the Flyers lose in seven games in the Stanley Cup Final to the Edmonton Oilers. So, ultimately, he was glad he continued driving down the Jersey turnpike. But a part of Resch still wishes he had stayed in the Garden State to the end.

"Leaving Jersey was really a painful experience because I thought I would end my career there and maybe have something to do with the organization (after retiring)," Resch said. "It took me about 20 years to get back there. And now I'm here!"

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