March 01, 2012

Butt Ended: Mike Keenan, on coaching the Blackhawks in 1988: So I'm coaching my first exhibition game and I go into the dressing room after the first period to talk, and there's no one in there. I'm wondering what in hell is going on, and take a walk out to the other side of the hallway and the whole team is out there, smoking cigarettes." This is an interesting article on what seems almost unimaginable today - Hockey stars of the 1970s and 1980s, such as Guy Lafleur and Denis Savard, being pack a day smokers, or more.

posted by rumple to hockey at 12:21 PM - 7 comments

The Hurricanes had a Russian guy on the team that smoked about 10 or 11 years back. I can't remember his name, but nickname was the Tank. I mean a regular smoker, too. Not the Jeff O'Neill type of smoker who seemed to only do it when drinking and being cocaine bear.

posted by NoMich at 01:00 PM on March 01, 2012

I remember many years back seeing a player smoking while serving a penalty in the box. Can't recall if it was NHL or WHA - be interesting to find some video.

posted by cixelsyd at 01:31 PM on March 01, 2012

Can't recall if it was NHL or WHA - be interesting to find some video.

Definitely not NHL, and probably not WHA.
If I had to guess, I think it would be a fringe feeder league (ECHL, for example), and it would have to have been about 30 years old (since smoking in public buildings has been banned for a LONG time).

posted by grum@work at 01:50 PM on March 01, 2012

a fringe feeder league

Possible, but I didn't follow those leagues much at all so i doubt that was it.

would have to have been about 30 years old

Would have been 30 to 40 years ago.

posted by cixelsyd at 02:03 PM on March 01, 2012

Word among the Stars press guys was that Sergei Zubov would sneak smokes in the showers of the locker room between periods. To the best of my knowledge, he never quit while he was playing. I kind of doubt he bothered to quit after retiring, but I don't know that for a fact.

posted by Ufez Jones at 08:29 PM on March 01, 2012

smoke 'em if you got 'em

posted by dviking at 12:27 AM on March 02, 2012

Not sure if it's OK to jump sports (especially with tobacco being so interwoven with the history of baseball), but as a kid, I had the opportunity to visit the Atlanta Braves spring training clubhouse.

I walked into the room and found myself face to face with Clete Boyer and Henry Aaron, bigger than life itself, and smoking like chimneys.

Aaron smoked like no man I had ever seen. It was a calm, dominating physical act. Most of the filter portion of the cigarette seemed to disappear into his mouth. He pulled down roughly 1/4 of the length of the cigarette with every draw. The lit end burned in a long, fierce tapered cone, with no ash appearing to fall from it. Complete combustion.

posted by beaverboard at 08:54 AM on March 02, 2012

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