Thunder and Lightning: A No-B.S. Hockey Memoir by Phil EspositoA very upfront and personal memoir by a player who played the game as he spoke – opened and unabashed. This was certainly a book of memory lane for me as a kid – Phil and Tony Esposito were great hockey players born in Sault St. Marie, Ontario Canada. Hard to believe that Phil is nearly 80 years old now and that this memoir was published when he was 60 or 61 years old in 2003. The fondest memory for me in the pages within this book was the memory he gave to the Canada – USSR Hockey Series of 1972. As a kid in elementary school we were sent to the gymnasium to watch either the live games in Canada or the taped games coming from the USSR. It was a fun time to be a kid, a hockey player and fan, and different time completely in both Canada and the United States.
Not surprised that Phil’s mouth got him into more trouble than did anything else in his life, his finesse on the ice and desire to win was nothing short of apparent for hockey fans. His love for baseball extended to the New York Yankees and Mickey Mantle more specifically. He was, is, and always will be for those of us who love this game a Hockey Players sort of Player. He played with, for, and against some of the best the NHL had to offer in both the pre-and-post-expansion years of 1967. Originally with the Blackhawks of Chicago he would find his groove in Boston along the likes of Bobby Orr, Gerry Cheevers, John Bucyk, Wayne Cashman, Derek Sanderson, Ken Hodge and others. As a kid just before moving to Southern California with my parents, I recall having seen Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito reach out to Kate Smith after her rendition of God Bless America in Philadelphia as the Boston Bruins were playing the Philadelphia Flyers for what would be the final game (game 6) and first Stanley Cup for Philly in 1975. By attempting to hand Kate Smith a flower following the honorable presentation of the flag – Phil gave to Kate a flower in the hopes of breaking the hex the Flyers had in front of their home crowd. Philly fans being as true then as they are now, harassed Phil as he entered the team box rink side. He received the Order of Canada (OC), was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1984 and had his number retired emotionally in 1986.
Phil would divorce twice and is married a third time to the woman who is by all accounts the love of his life – criticisms of course can always be found but in this imperfect world with imperfect humans’ judgement is not for one person to render unto another in my opinion. Ken Dryden of the Montréal Canadiens still has in my opinion the best all around sports memoir that I have read thus far. I would hope that before Phil Esposito turns 80 he would come back and do what Ken Dryden has done and update the memoir with life after Hockey, but keeping to the tradition of what Ken Dryden has done and not change anything in the first edition.
A great read – sports fans will not be disappointed and Peter Golenbock did a wonderful job tying this all together.
Brothers: The Phil And Tony Esposito Story
Esposito brothers honored by Blackhawks, Tony shows off old mask
Click on Tony or Phil. I want to thank Rocky Wirtz and John McDonough for giving me the opportunity to come back to the Blackhawks organization. I love the new approach the team is taking. Everything about the Blackhawks is very upbeat and I am proud to be a part of this new beginning. He appeared in 13 games with a record and a 2. That claim paid immediate dividends for the Blackhawks, as Esposito posted a record and a 2.
Marie, Ontario, Canada. Tony, like most Canadian kids, came from a blue-collar family, as Tony's father Pat worked for the Algoma Steel Plant. It all started in the Esposito household, with both Phil and Tony, playing knee hockey all day long in the basement with a rolled up sock for a puck. Even on school days Tony would get up at 5 in the morning load his goal pads and everything else on to his toboggan and pull it right through town so he could practice before school. Well at least in the beginning, Tony being the youngest, was forced to play goalie. He became so proficient at stopping pucks he found himself playing goal all over town. At 10 he was in the nets for his neighborhood team and let in two goals from the red line.
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Marie , Ontario is a retired professional goaltender , who played in the National Hockey League , most notably for the Chicago Black Hawks. He was one of the pioneers of the now popular butterfly style. Esposito grew up Sault Ste. He played college hockey for Michigan Tech University. A three-year hockey letter winner, Esposito was a three-time first-team All-America selection. Still currently the MTU career leader in goals against average 2. A famous game against the Boston Bruins , led by his brother Phil, ended in a 2—2 tie, in which Phil scored both goals for Boston.