Videos: Phil Esposito, Ice Hockey
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In 1972 when we were asked to go play for Team Canada, Tony and I, we had a hockey school. And our hockey school was really a good one, and we did it for 4-6, I think 4-6 weeks. So we probably made ourselves $1,000 a week doing that thing. That’s a lot, that was a lot of money for us guys. And we had to give that up and give all the money back to go down to training camp and then play for our country. That’s why I asked the questions all the time, I was the one guy that stood up, besides what were they going to do with me? We won the Stanley Cup, which is this ring, I won the scoring championship, I think Bobby beat me for the MVP that year but I was second. I was an All-Star.
Vancouver the booing was ridiculous. I remember this Zamboni entrance and Johnny Esaw interviewing me. You know I never knew what I said until 1981. People told me but I never saw it.
<Esposito – Vancouver 1972> All of us guys are really disheartened and we’re disillusioned and we’re disappointed in some of the people. We cannot believe the bad press we’ve got, the booing we’ve gotten in our own buildings. And if the Russians boo their players, if the Russians boo our players like some of the Canadian fans – I’m not saying all of them – some of them booed us, then I’ll come back and I’ll apologize to each one of the Canadians.
We beat the Russians in ’72 because mentally there were enough guys on our team that just weren’t going to lose. And that’s why we beat them. We just weren’t going to lose. And when I think about it I get I get flustered, I get angry, I got I’m getting flashes right now because there was no way that I would let anybody lose. And I know there were other guys on the team that felt the same way.
My daughter married a Russian hockey player. Can you believe this? I’ve got two Russian grandsons. Me. Of all the guys on that team, me. And the guys bug me about it too. Hey look they’re good hockey players, they are, and I had nothing against the players. But it was society against society, that’s the way it became. It became no doubt about it capitalism versus communism.
I never in my wildest dreams ever thought that I could do the things I did in this game. And I’m going to tell you something, you do not, you do not appreciate it until after you’re finished playing. You know you did something, you know. I mean the year I scored the 100 points the first time, the crowd in Boston when I scored that 100th point that time, I’ll never forget that. I mean when I when I think about it I’m getting goose bumps, just thinking about the crowd the way they yelled and were chanting my name. Yeah I could score and people always said that guy can’t skate. Yeah, I wasn’t a great skater, but I could score. You bet your bip I could score.