The 60-year-old man sat slumped in the wheelchair receiving visitors that night on floor level at McNichols Arena a quarter-century ago.
He'd been driven the hour, those 70 well-travelled miles from Colorado Springs to Denver, by ambulance after undergoing a pulverizing chemotherapy treatment at Penrose Hospital.
"The draft,'' whispered Calgary Flames' assistant coach Paul Baxter, reflective after seeing his old mentor in such a deteriorated condition, "was, what, only three months ago, and he was his old self there. 'Hey, kid!' Slapping you on the shoulder.
"He needs our prayers. But he's a strong man. A fighter."
The cancer that was insidiously attacking Bob Johnson's brain had left him without speech, unable to communicate outside of a pen and paper to jot on. He was gaunt, one side of his body paralyzed.
A male nurse stood close by.
What struck the lucky ones called in for a short visit, though - Mario Lemieux. Bryan Trottier. Lanny McDonald, others - were those eyes. Bright, alert, still curious.