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On Hockey Fathers

by Pete Weber / Nashville Predators

This week, Terry Crisp is celebrating the lives of two of the most influential men in his life. Today, the focus is on his coaching mentor. For the balance of the week, he mourns the passing of his father.

Terry will miss the final two broadcasts from the team’s longest-ever road trip, as his father, Nesbeth Arthur Crisp, passed away at the age of 91 last Friday in Capreol, Ontario. Memorials will be held throughout this week.

Today in Toronto, the man who gave Terry his start as a coach – Fred Shero – will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Shero first coached Terry with the Calder Cup Champion Buffalo Bisons of the American Hockey League in 1970-71. Shero initially saw Terry playing for the Minneapolis Bruins in the early 1960’s, while Shero was coaching in St. Paul. Obviously, he saw something he liked.

Two years later, following their brief time together in the American League, they were reunited. On March 4, 1973 -- the NHL trade deadline – the Philadelphia Flyers acquired Crispy from the expansion New York Islanders. It was one of those cliché deals that helped both teams. The Islanders received defenseman Jean Potvin (older brother of future Hall of Famer Denis). That helped the Islanders to sign Denis and keep him away from the World Hockey Association.

Meanwhile, Shero and the Flyers got Crispy for his penalty killing and faceoff skills. That also helped Terry win his first two Stanley Cups, as they took the title in both 1974 and 1975. Shero made sure to have him on the ice to win the final faceoffs securing the 1974 Cup victory.

When Terry retired as a player in 1977, he wanted to stay in the game. Shero hired him as his assistant coach on the Flyers. While Shero left Philadelphia to become head coach of the New York Rangers in 1978, Terry remained there for another season, before moving on to be a head coach with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds for six seasons in the Ontario League.

That prepared him for two seasons in the American Hockey League as a head coach in Moncton, then three seasons with the Calgary Flames. It was with Calgary where he won his third Stanley Cup ring, and the night before the final series opened with the Montreal Canadiens, he called his mentor, Fred Shero.

Terry has never forgotten him. He mentions him regularly. In Toronto, he will celebrate Shero’s posthumous induction (Shero passed away in 1990). Joining him will be members of Shero’s family (including son Ray, now General Manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins) and the Flyers’ family, including captain Bobby Clarke.

Terry’s own family will be with him in Northern Ontario, celebrating the man who instilled in him the incredible work ethic that helped him to a long playing and coaching career.

Terry has told the story of his dad taking him to the train station when he was 16, giving him a $5-dollar bill to get started on his hockey adventure in St. Marys, Ontario.

It has been an adventure that many would envy, and Crispy knows it was made possible by his dad, and it’s never easy to say good-bye to your dad.

Listen to Terry talk about Shero here.

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