Mike Emrick on Hersheypark Arena, which turns 80 on Dec. 19

His remarks came in 2011, upon the 75th birthday of the 'Old Barn'
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I originally published this Dec. 3, 2011, on my old hockey website, Pennsylvania Puck, the day after “A Night at the Old Barn,” the Hershey-Derry Township Historical Society’s celebration of Hersheypark Arena’s 75 years.

The former Hershey Arena opened on Dec. 19, 1936, meaning that its 80th birthday is upon us.

Mike Emrick, currently the lead hockey announcer for NBC Sports, spoke at the historical society event. He never worked for the Hershey Bears. But he fell in love with the community of Hershey and Hersheypark Arena, he said, the first time he visited in fall 1977.

At that time, Emrick was the radio voice of the American Hockey League’s Maine Mariners, rivals to the Bears and a farm team of the National Hockey League’s Philadelphia Flyers. He later broadcast for the Flyers and, with his wife, Joyce, lived in Hershey for five years.

What follows is a complete transcript of Emrick’s 2011 remarks. Bracketed text has been inserted in several areas in order to amplify or correct something Emrick said.

Two names to which Emrick refers on multiple occasions are the late Frank Mathers, a Hockey Hall of Famer who served the Bears for decades as a player, coach and executive, and Doug Yingst, who served under Mathers and was the Bears’ president and general manager until his 2016 retirement.

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Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick

Thank you very much.

How many of you, by a show of hands, saw your very first hockey game here? Look around the room. Keep the hands up. Look around the room. Look at all the memories that you brought – OK, you can put them down – look at all the memories you brought with you tonight when you came in here.

You’ve seen some of the great memories of other people that have had that chance. Unfortunately, some of you don’t get the chance to share memories tonight over this microphone. I’ve been given that chance. And I want to tell you I feel like the sweaty pilot in “Airplane” when Leslie Nielsen comes in and says, “I just want you to know, we’re all counting on you.”

Because you do have your memories, and where those memories come is very special in your heart. I first walked in here with a delightful bunch of thugs called the Maine Mariners in 1977.

Now you’ll notice up here, they have done a wonderful job of giving you the standings for our division that year. And you’ll see that not only did we win that, but I will tell you we won the championship. But we came into Hershey that year as a first-year team, and eventual Calder Cup champion were the Maine Mariners, but there were nights when they came into Hershey that first year that they performed figuratively like that bear on skates did literally.


My best memory here. One was the night they retired that number of Frank Mathers. Another was the last regular-season game here. And then there was 1980. The Mariners won the first two years. In 1980, the Bears were not supposed to go too far, but they went far. They went to the Calder Cup final.

The president of our team in Maine, Ed Anderson, knew how I fell in love with Hershey the first time I ever walked in here. And so he designated Joyce and me to represent the Mariners at the Calder Cup final. So we got to come to Hershey, Pa., for games three and four and game six, section seven, row AA, seats 10 and 11, right next to the goal judge Art Fasnacht.

What a night that was. The New Brunswick Hawks were in the final against the Bears. The New Brunswick Hawks had players who eventually would become very famous elsewhere. Bruce Boudreau, a New Brunswick Hawk. Ron Wilson, now coaching Toronto, a New Brunswick Hawk. Darryl Sutter, later a coach then a general manager, was on the New Brunswick Hawks.

Both Wilson and Sutter had the winning goals in the two games that the Hawks had won before they came in here for game six. The Bears had won three.

And it was right over here – we were watching from this end – it was right over here in the third period on a steamy hot night in May, with people ringed three deep around all the standing room sections, nearly 7,000 people watching here, scorching hot, a goal is scored from the right wing circle and we thought Mitch Grand had lost it because at that very moment he decided to celebrate the goal with this music [organist plays “Jingle Bells”].

Adam Althouse, thank you so much for playing now and all evening long. Why was that a lasting memory? Not only because it was hot in May, but Mitch knew that that goal, which would be the winning goal in a Cup-clinching game, was scored by Claude Noel. And that was the last time here that the Bears skated the Cup after winning a game at home and clinching. And that became a lifetime memory.

Bears legend and Hockey Hall of Famer Frank Mathers.

Bears legend and Hockey Hall of Famer Frank Mathers.

It is selfish of me only to tell my own stories here tonight. So there are stories from people who I wish were here. I have collected stories from Frank Mathers, from Brent Hancock, who was the long-time public relations guy here. It is for that reason that I’m wearing the brown jacket because he always was up here on press row in a brown jacket.

And Steve Summers, the legend from the Harrisburg Patriot, as well as some people who are here tonight. Doug Yingst. Don Cherry, who is not here but he had his story as well. Kenny Hatt, who is sort of Mr. Historic Hershey.

And I think it’s been mentioned before but the heartening thing to me about coming in here tonight is that on the opening night of this season I walked past Boston Garden to TD Garden. Boston Garden is a parking lot.

Monday, I will go to United Center in Chicago. Chicago Stadium is a parking lot. On January 2nd I will be broadcasting a game from a baseball park in Philadelphia. To get there, I will walk past the Spectrum, which is now rubble.

As you said, sir, this is a place of vibrancy. It is alive. There is an ice surface here. And that will delight the heart of anyone who’s ever walked in here and been taken by this place, myself included.


The Ice Palace, predecessor to Hersheypark Arena

The Ice Palace, predecessor to Hersheypark Arena

It wasn’t a very enjoyable night for Milton Hershey.  The team was playing next door [at the Ice Palace]. It was an important game. Milton Hershey was late to the game. No more standing room left. The usher was new. He did not know who this person was who really wanted in to see the game. Mr. Hershey drove home.

He went home and he placed a call to D. Paul Witmer, whose two children are here. And this was in 1935. No answering machines. You see, Mr. Witmer was not at home. Unlike Mr. Hershey, he planned ahead, he had a ticket, he was at the game.

And the next morning, that famous meeting took place. And the quote by historians was this: “I want you to build an arena that is, quote, big enough so a guy can get a seat even if he is late.”


Let’s pretend for a moment that this is not 2011. It’s the 1930s. You are coming to one of the first Bears games after the arena was opened. There is indeed an orchestra here, as there was tonight. Different kind of orchestra. Mitch Grand was the piano player. He later became the organist here.

From the program of March 17th, 1937, “Tonight’s music program is by the Hershey Community Orchestra under the direction of Johnny Tomney. This was a game between the Hershey Bears and the Atlantic City Seagulls that got a little bit out of control.”

This is the UPI story. It not only talked about the score, 6 to 4 Hershey, spectators, players and police – you like it already, don’t you? – joined in a free-for-all on the edge of the ice in the last period that delayed the game 10 minutes.

“With players and spectators piled on the ice, a spectator in the top stands hurled a pop bottle. It struck near the mass of struggling players, and the shattered glass was sprayed over the men lying on the ice. Police removed the man from the rink but announced today that they did not prosecute. Because the spectator was slightly under the influence of liquor and admitted he got excited.”

The orchestra did play most nights, but one night the Milton Hershey Band performed here. And the next morning there was a call from the musicians union and the Milton Hershey Band never played here again.

On the opposite side here, Section 14 was where, until he died in 1945, Mr. Hershey would sit. It would be notably occupied in later years by the legend Frank Mathers and by Doug Yingst.


Imagine a cash-less society. That was the case. At the upper concession areas, you did not lay out a nickel for a soda and a dime for a hot dog. You bought from a small kiosk near the concession stand a ticket. That ticket was worth 15 cents. So the concessionaires did not handle the money. They simply took the ticket. You bought the ticket before.

The public address announcer has always sat here. One night, a referee named Ron Wicks came over after a goal was scored and said it was by number 9. Everyone in the house knew that it was number 6. Ron Wicks said number 9. “Announce it, number 9 had the goal.”

The threat of calling a minor penalty on the public address announcer was issued by Mr. Wicks. He was so belligerent about having the guy he saw score the goal, not the guy that 7,000 other people saw score it, and so the public address announcer, having a great deal of respect for anyone blind, did as he was told. Congratulations, Bruce McKinney.

Don Scott on a night of fights referred to a third round before announcing the major penalties, and he got a glare from the referee, too.

Radio broadcasting was only 15 years old when this place opened. Now as the visitor coming in with the Maine Mariners, our location was right there above the exit sign. The Hershey Bears announcer was over on the other side. And you can only imagine through all those years the number of people like myself who have come through here and gone on to other leagues or other professions or other jails.

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Hersheypark Arena, left, and the adjacent Ice Palace

And the guys you know so well who occupied that booth.

AHL president of the time Jack Butterfield called Frank Mathers one morning and said that he felt that he should admonish his play-by-play announcer because it was the president of the league’s understanding that the remark made by the broadcaster was, “That’s another gutless call made by Mike Foy, and he’s the world’s worst.”

The referee was Mike Foy. The announcer was Frank Mathers’ son, J.D. Congratulations, J.D. J.D., please stand.

It was from this press area here that guys like the late Steve Summers, Dan Sernoffsky, Dave Sottile, Kevin Freeman, Harold Ziegler, worked on a regular basis writing about the Bears, and guys like Gregg Mace and so many other radio and TV reporters either got space or put their cameras up there.

Steve Summers in particular stood out to me because of the way he could turn a phrase. And he had a certain feeling about presumptuousness that was something that I think we all understood. And so here are three paragraphs. This is the only time I think I’ll read to you tonight, but this was choice.

Nineteen-ninety-two we’re talking about the NHL striking. Players were actually going to strike, and they actually did for a few days. The general managers and board of governors met to talk about this, but of course they did not meet in Buffalo. They met in Palm Springs.

The headline under Steve’s column was “It’s no day at the beach for NHL GMs.”

“The sun is rising higher in the sky and the palms pulse quietly in the gentle trade winds as the general managers ease into their chairs at umbrella-crowned tables. Their casual attire and smiling faces reflect their sunny dispositions. Their carefree chatter centers on the island’s golf courses and casinos. This is, after all, an NHL crisis conference.

“ ‘Gentlemen, we have to get to business here and discuss this strike situation,’ ” says one tanned face whose neckties are all safely back in chilly Ontario. ‘We need to decide what our response is going to be if these greedy players actually take off their skates.’ ”

“Surrounding the gathering of lanai tables are portraits of past NHL troubleshooters like Conn Smythe and Jack Adams. One GM sitting under a scowling vision of Eddie Shore suggests hopefully, ‘How can they strike? They’ve never done it before even in the old days when we gave them a lot of reasons.’ ”

That was Steve Summers, a legend who worked right back up here.


The ice plant machinery was housed in the far corner, and a guy named Milt Garland tended to it from the time this place opened. He was still working in refrigeration at the age of 102 and was saluted in Congress for being the oldest working human. He lived to 104. When asked his secret of longevity he said, “I don’t eat sauerkraut.”

Although Milt’s ice plant would get challenged at times, either in late spring at playoff time or early fall for preseason games. One such occurred on Sept. 26, 1998, an exhibition game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers. The conditions were just perfect for trouble. Fog, thin ice, the whole number.

They got through two periods. The referee contacted Mr. Yingst, who of course explained that this is Pittsburgh’s home game. You must talk to the [Penguins’] general manager, Craig Patrick, another former Hershey Bear. The three of them went down into the referee’s room to have this discussion. Ice conditions were not good, they were not getting better. This was going to be trouble. There was risk of endangering players.

However, one of the three men at one point in the conversation said, “If you cancel this game now you will have a line all the way to the stadium of people wanting refunds.” The game went on. The game was conducted safely, at least they got through it. And referee Paul Devorski breathed a lot easier by the end of that night.

The arena's "rink rats," in the days when they resurfaced the ice by towing a barrel full of water around the rink.

The arena’s “rink rats,” in the days when they resurfaced the ice by towing a barrel full of water around the rink.

The benches were located where they are now, but for many years the doors opened out into the arena rather than in to the bench. With good timing you could break up a 3-on-2 rush real well. At that time, benches were allowed to empty, as well.

One night in a game between the Bears and the Baltimore Skipjacks, the referee handed out 23 game misconducts. Seven Bears were left, eight Skipjacks were left. The referee Mick McGeough even threw out his brother, Jim, who was one of the Skipjacks.

There was a night, April 26, 1986, when John Brophy, a fiery coach who had been angrily seen shredding his own sports jacket with a skate, brought to Hersheypark Arena his St. Catharines Saints for a playoff game.

It was in that seven-game series that one of the Saints named Valmore James and one of the Bears named Mike Stothers in a seven-game series had 10 fights. You wonder what’s to learn after, say, the fourth or fifth one of those.

Brophy’s players were pretty aggressive. In the second period of one of the games, Leigh Verstraete, one of the thugs, ran Darren Jensen at that end behind the net. Ran him into the boards, knocked him down.

The backup goalie sat at that end of the Hershey bench and watched all of this. Backup goalie was Ron Hextall, known for having a temper sometimes. The game ends, but not the action.

Hextall steps from the bench, starts a fight with Verstraete. That one ends. Fight number two with Chris McRae. That one ends. Fight number three with Derek Laxdal. You’re only allowed three. He got 25 minutes in penalties for that. Game misconduct, a fighting major, standard misconduct.

Told you that story to tell you this one. It’s a week ago Monday and I’m in St. Louis. The Los Angeles Kings are playing the St. Louis Blues, and Ron Hextall is there as assistant general manager of the Kings. I said, “Ron, I’m going to Hersheypark Arena a week from Friday. I’m going to tell the story of your three fights. What else do you remember?”

“The third one was with Laxdal,” he said, starting to get a little annoyed. I backed up. Five-seven against somebody like that, you’re not going to win.

“Laxdal and I were in junior hockey together. I’ve got him down and I’m ready to drill him, and he’s begging me to not hit him. It was my third fight so I let him up.

“The next game in St. Catherine’s, he runs me behind the net, and I said, ‘I’m going to get you.’ ” And he said, “I had a career in the NHL. Laxdal did not. I never paid him back. Pity all of that.”


It was sort of poetic that the Bears were a farm team of the Boston Bruins at one time: Bears, Bruins. [Cheer from audience.] Jumped on the wagon or off?

There was a Bruins farmhand who was playing for the Hershey Bears. And Frank Mathers, his coach, said, “I think I’ll get your eyes checked because I think there’s something about your game that needs to get better and I think it’s your vision.”

He went to the eye doctor here in Hershey, and sure enough, he had an eye deficiency, which was corrected with something relatively new at the time, contact lenses. He wore the contact lenses and he started to light it up. So much did he light it up that the Bruins called him back up and he stuck.

It was only two weeks after he had been in Boston that he realized that he had been wearing the right contact lens in the left eye and the left contact lens in the right eye. But Gary Dornhoefer did OK.

But didn’t you get to see some players here? Willie Marshall played here seven years, led the Bears in scoring every year. Willie Marshall, stand up.

Bears hall of famer Willie Marshall, left, with Emrick

Bears hall of famer Willie Marshall, left, with Emrick (Photo: Tim Stough)

Larry “The Rock” Zeidel would appear in 517 fistic games for the Bears and would later play for the Flyers. And even a decade ago had to be held back while coaching the Flyers alumni from going after the other team.

Mike Nykoluk, the Big Bear, number 8, the first [Bears] jersey ever retired.

Players would stay a long time here. Barry Ashbee, eight years. Ralph Keller, nine years. Andy Branigan, eight years. Arnie Kullman, 12 years. Roger DeJordy, eight years. Michel Harvey, eight years. Gil Gilbert, seven years. Although later the era would change, the excellence inside this place would not.

Tim Tookey and Mitch Lamoureux brought crowds to their feet just like those guys did. And rugged Don Nachbaur would do the same. And there were some characters in that line, too, before Nachbaur got here.


Take ’77-’78. The only note from that year is when the Bears finished the season, Nelson Burton had set a new penalty minute record for the franchise, for the most penalty minutes in one year, ’77-’78. Now comes the next fall.

They arrived in Hershey, one guy 6-feet-6, the other 5-feet-9, Archie Henderson and Gary Rissling. They spent a lot of time here. By the final game of that season, it turned out to be a meaningless last game of the season, both of them had already passed Burton’s record.

Somebody by the end of the 80th game in New Haven was going to be the new standard bearer for all time for this long and storied franchise in penalty minutes.

Archie told me years later the difference going into the game was 10 – Rissling had him by 10 minutes – and he said, “There was an air of tension on our bus as we headed over to the New Haven Coliseum.”

For support, hearing that story, I called Frank Mathers, then retired at his home, and I said, “Frank, you have all of those scrapbooks. Can you turn to the last game in April of the 1978-79 season?” So he did, and he read off the penalties to me.

First period, Rissling a minor for roughing. He’s up by 12. Second period, delay of game. I’m sure it’s not for shooting the puck in the crowd. He’s up by 14.

“Nothing there for Henderson, Frank?”

“No, oh, yes, there is one here. There are two here. There are three here.”

Seventeen [penalty] minutes with seven seconds to go.

Well, there are a few more questions that need to be asked here, right? So that next fall I was at a preseason game in Detroit and Archie was there scouting. And I said, “So what happened that last night in New Haven?”

He said, “I was getting worried because we were getting down to the last minute of the game. And Rissling wasn’t going to take any more ice time, and I wasn’t getting very much because the season was over.

“And we had a defenseman named Dwayne Lowdermilk [Editor’s note: Henderson and Lowdermilk were teammates on the 1980-81 Bears roster, according to the Internet Hockey Database.] and he skated by our bench to play the puck ahead, and I checked the clock, there wasn’t much time left so I grabbed him and dragged him into our bench and took his place.

“And as luck would have it, Frank Beaton, the No. 1 fighter for the New Haven Nighthawks was on the ice at the time. So I attacked him.

“Now,” he said, and he’s now got this huge index finger, shaking it at me, “Now, Mike, what I have to do is make the fight last so I get another 10 minutes. As it turned out, I got 17, I beat Rissling out [Editor’s note: Henderson and Rissing actually tied with 337 penalty minutes each, according to the Internet Hockey Database], and the two of us almost fought off the ice on the way to the locker room after the game.”


In the spring of 1980, Rissling and Henderson are still on the team, and the team has that magic run which culminated with Claude Noel scoring the goal and them skating the Cup around here. Hershey was not favored to get past one round. Most people, myself up in the north in Maine, thought that they would beat Syracuse, which they did. But then the overwhelming powerhouse in the league that year was New Haven. And remarkably, Hershey upset them.

Now they’re in the final against New Brunswick. Comes a knock on Frank Mathers’ door. He is general manager at that time.

It is Gary Rissling. “Uh, Frank, I got engaged some time ago, and we set the wedding day, I didn’t think we’d be here, uh, it’s next week.”

“Well, Gary, how much time do you think you need off?

“Well, maybe the first two games up in New Brunswick. I’m sure sorry about this.”

“No, no, you take the time off. Have your wedding, come back, rejoin the team.”

Within hours, the legend PR guy Brent Hancock comes into Frank’s office.

“Uh, Frank, my wife and I booked a Caribbean cruise back around Christmastime. We didn’t really think we’d be here, and so what do you think?

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Decorative detail in the arena’s northeast lobby.

And he gave him the same answer he gave Rissling. Go on the cruise. You know there was a cancellation fee. Go on the cruise and come back.

So there now comes the point before the series starts when Rissling is still in town. And a close-knit team always wants to celebrate any occasion. Bachelor party.

They went to the trainer Bobby Trenn and they said, “How about the Bears’ locker room for the bachelor party? And he said, “It looks pretty nice. How about you go to the visitors’, it’s fairly ugly.”

The bachelor party started there, and before it was done it involved the stretcher and gray masking tape. Rissling was lashed to the stretcher. They got the team van, carted him to the corner of Chocolate and Cocoa, and wearing what he was wearing when he was born, he was leaned up against the lamppost outside the bank.

The guys hid in the bushes, and two relatively conservative elder ladies from the community were out for a walk. When they came upon this hairy soul with a toothless grin, called the police but there were no cell phones then, so by the time they got to call the police the guys were out of the bushes and they had him back here. And he and his new bride celebrated a championship about two weeks later.


Now Henderson’s days at Hersheypark were over at that point. He moved on to other American Hockey League teams. He got a promotion to Washington and he would return in another capacity to Hershey on an important night for him as a member of the New Haven Nighthawks.

Again, it was the final night of the season, again the game did not mean anything to New Haven. Nick Beverley was the coach of the team. They had six days off before this meaningless final game.

Archie, being a mathematical whiz, got out the Hockey Register and discovered that in his career all the way back to Port Huron he had 1,981 minutes in penalties. He started thinking about this, thinking about how much he cared about this place here, about how many people would be watching the last game of the season, and speaking in the third person he said, “Archie’s going into Hershey, Archie’s going to hit 2,000 minutes, and Archie’s gonna retire.”

Well, he told his teammates that. Teammates have phones. By the time the team bus rolled in not only did the Nighthawks know about Archie’s plans, the Bears knew about Archie’s plans, and the referee Bill McCreary knew about Archie’s plans.

Nick Beverley, the coach, decided we should probably get this over with now, so he started Archie on right wing. He attacked a Bears defenseman named Jim Burton. When it was all done, they skated past here. They got as close as the penalty box when McCreary said, “No, no, Arch, you’re done.”

“What did I get?”

“Two for roughing, five for fighting, 10-minute game misconduct. You’re two minutes short. Have a great summer.”

To verify, after a game at United Center in Chicago, Bill McCreary is walking out to get to his cab to leave the arena and I said, “Bill, I just have one question. Do you remember anything about a night in Hershey when Archie Henderson came up two minutes short and you said something to him?”

And he smiled and he said, “I remember something about that. See ya.”

So there must be something to it.


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AHL standings posted on the far end of the arena.

One of the most distinctive things about coming to Hersheypark were those boards, standings boards. And they always showed how good the teams were. If you came in and your name was down a little bit, that was kind of a downer.

One year the Bears got off to a pretty bad start. There weren’t many years like that, but they had a terrible October. The team went to Frank and said, “We’d like to have a Halloween party.”

And I think at this point Frank probably thought maybe the bonding experience will be really good for these guys if we do that. Let’s let them have the Halloween party. And back in there is a place called the Bear’s Den, and that’s where they had it. The next morning, as parties go, this one went a little bit later than most, maybe they had a few things to repair.

They were well supplied, as it were, and the next morning when Doug Yingst and Frank Mathers came into the arena and started across there up to their offices, they looked and saw that the last-place Bears were now in first place. And they thought about how much it must have taken, piggy backs or something, to get some wobbly soul up there to make the change, and you realize these guys must have some courage after all.


Anyone who cares about the hockey team and has been around long enough to see even one game in this place knows that you’ve had a lot of wonderful players and a lot of times to celebrate here. And this is the lucky thing that I get to do near the end of an evening in which you have been celebrating all night the wonderful place that we have come to.

As you think back over the seasons, you think of Bob Hartley behind the bench and after the game saying that he was just watching “national anthem” hockey. National anthem hockey is when one team lines up on this blue line and the other team on this one and they don’t do anything all night.

That Billy Taylor, a scout, over at Spinner’s [a Hershey restaurant] in training camp told a veteran, Bryan Watson, “We’re going to room you with a rookie, Archie Henderson. Now he’s had some fights, his hearing is not too good. In the evening, when you’re in the room together, you’re going to have to yell because he’s never going to hear you.”

They get Henderson aside and they say, “Bryan Watson is going to be your roommate, we think you can learn a lot from him. Keep in mind, he’s been around a long time and he’s had a rough go. He can’t hear too well, so when you’re in the room, you’re going to have to talk it up.”

The yelling the first night was hilarious.

There was a visiting coach – and over half of the coaches in the NHL have either played here or coached over there – but there was a visiting coach here from New Haven named Jim Troy. He was somewhat nervous, he was new. He was a fill-in coach to fill out the rest of the season.

With his team trailing by two with two seconds to go in the game, he called a timeout. Do any of you know a two-goal play that can be executed in two seconds to get your team back in the game?


You remember great souls like Yanick Dupre. Passed from leukemia, only 24.

The night they saluted Frank here they brought back members from all of the Calder Cup teams. The one hour it took to play the final 16 seconds against Adirondack.

How much a young linesman named Mike Condon, now gone for almost a decade, loved to work games here.

About a player named Al Hill who got cut for 40 stitches and said afterward, “Thank God I’m already married.”

Don Cherry started his pro career in Hershey, where he also met the love of his life, Rosemarie “Rose” Madelyn Martini.

Don Cherry started his pro career in Hershey, where he also met the love of his life, Rosemarie “Rose” Madelyn Martini.

Of a defenseman, Don Cherry, who met the love of his life, Rose, when he played here in Hershey. And she kept saying, “You’ve got to come home and meet my parents.” And he kept putting her off. And finally he agreed because she said, “We’re done if you don’t come home and meet my family.”

It was decided after a Saturday night home game he would do it. He got in a fight, he lost big time, he had a black eye, lots of stitches. But somehow or other the relationship survived.

You’ve all brought some great memories here tonight – and I don’t have anywhere to go. I am more than happy to listen to yours, since you’ve listened to mine, afterwards.

There is an old Hollywood thing. The producer says, “Get me John Wayne. Get me a John Wayne type.”

“Who is John Wayne?”

At some point, there won’t be anyone who will want my autograph or have a picture with me. But if you do, I’ve got the whole evening. Tonight’s the night. Because there will come a time when probably no one will ask.

Because of two postponements, the event was pushed to December 2011.

Two postponements (flooding and snow) pushed the event to Dec. 2, 2011.

But this was a place for the senses, all five of them. The sight of that red light that is now green at a very important time in a game. The sound of the crowd rising when that light came on, with arms up.

The sound of [fans] Terry Moore and the Green Mountain Boys over there. The smell of the fresh chocolate bar or popcorn that greeted you when you came in. The cheer of the security officer Flo Altobelli making sure that not only did you get your parking place but you better take one of her freshly baked cookies at the back door.

I covered everything but feel. I asked you earlier how many of you had seen your first game here. I will not ask for a show of hands, but I am sure there are a few people who might nervously twitch for the feel of having been surprised and pinched on the behind by [legendary fan] Mae Spence.

All a part of the glory and lore of Hersheypark.

I don’t know how much time I was allotted. I hope I haven’t gone over. I hope you’ve had a great time because it means everything to me that I was chosen out of all the people they could have brought back to spend 15 or 20 minutes with you. And I thank you.

Emrick spoke for 50 minutes. You can listen for yourself:

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