Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Terry Jones Sr., grandfather of twins you may know, talks old-time New Haven hockey

Must admit, few things bring me as much joy as talking about the old New Haven Blades. Sure, the team folded and the New Haven Arena torn down before I was even born. But the memories remain fond and fresh of those who experienced the Blades, and the stories are almost unbelievable.

Terry Jones Sr., the grandfather of Kellen and Connor Jones, grew up playing hockey in Winnipeg and has lived in Canada for all but two of his 68 years. Those two years in the U.S. were spent in New Haven as a pro hockey player with the Blades. I finally got a chance to speak with Terry for a story in today's Register.

His stories are wonderful. He remembers the dingy locker room of the Arena, post-game gatherings at the old Arena Grille run by Billy Cal, the wild games and crazy personalities. The Blades and the old Eastern Hockey League were straight out of "Slap Shot"...fact is, much of the movie is based on the league and many of the characters in the film played for the Blades. Like Blades penalty minute king Blake Ball, who appears in Slap Shot as Gilmour Tuttle, wrested from his retirement running a donut shot in Mile 40 Saskatchewan to play for the Federal League championship. Ball (appearing below in his Slap Shot role) was a teammate of Terry Jones during his two seasons in New Haven.

We'll get you straightened out...

Here are a few other stories about the Blades and the old New Haven Arena worth your time. Like the final game in franchise history, when goalie Jim Armstrong saw a Syracuse hometown ref punch his New Haven teammate and took matters in his own hands. Armstrong, it should be noted, retired from pro hockey and became head coach at Quinnipiac for many years. And here's one about the Blades that paints a real picture of how games were constantly on the brink of chaos.

It's amazing that 40 years later, the Blades are still vivid in the minds of those who were there. Connor and Kellen Jones told me they've been approached by fans with Blades' programs from the late 60s that featured their grandfather. For most of us living around here, who've watched teams like the Nighthawks, Beast and even baseball's Ravens come and go, it's a sad reminder of what a great minor league sports town this used to be. At least the memories live on...


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home