Seattle's first hockey superstar, Guyle Fielder, was back in town April 23 to be feted by the NHL Seattle franchise.
One honor is a dedicated locker of Fielder's equipment from his glory years with the Western Hockey League's Seattle Totems during the 1950s and 1960s. The locker is prominently positioned in the team's tickets and suites preview center at the Pacific Science Center. It will move to the New Arena at Seattle Center before the puck drops in the fall of 2021.
"There's one more honor in addition to Guyle's locker as our first dressing-room stall," said Dave Tippett at the April 23 event. "The club has created the Guyle Field Award in recognition of outstanding sportsmanship and leadership. It will be an annual team award to the NHL Seattle player who best exemplifies what Guyle Fielder is all about."
Fielder, who played 15 of his 22 pro seasons in Seattle, is No. 4 in scoring among all pro hockey players, trailing only Wayne Gretzky, Jaromir Jagr and Gordie Howe-some big-time names. During the recent event's interview session, Fielder credited his multiple line mates at left and right wing, plus the local fans.
"We had boisterous fans," recalled Fielder. "You have to remember back then [in the Civic Arena] we had no screen or glass around the rink, only wire on the ends where goaltenders played. Along the sides of boards, the crowd was right there. The fans were very close to the ice and we had fans who let you know if you were in the Seattle arena, you were getting booed."
Something to which NHL Seattle fans can aspire: Opposing coaches in the formerly professional Western Hockey League dreaded coming to town. Proximity was one factor. Another was how loud the fans could get-one visiting coach claimed Seattle might not have the biggest fan capacity but "led the league" in lung power.
"The fans would pick on the opposing player who was the best or dirtiest," said Fielder.
"They were right in your face, strong supporters of the game. They liked to get on the other team's nerves and that's the way they did it."
Fielder grinned at the memory.
"None can compare to Seattle fans," he continued. "They were best crowds and fans, you just can't believe."