Kane went to the Adirondack Hockey Hall of Fame – The Daily Gazette

In this episode of Bizarro World, the sports writer shook the beer, sprayed it all over the professional hockey player, and lived somehow to tell the story.

Another player lumped into the crowded, noisy Glens Falls bar that night, still in full uniform – skates and all – and it seemed perfectly normal.

Everyone got sipped champagne from the Calder Cup when it was sent around, and even though the trophy was not the right item, the bubbles were. And the AHL championship they designated.

That was almost 33 years ago, a small but tasty sip from 20 seasons of Adirondack Red Wings hockey at Glens Falls Civic Center.

Mike Kane told the 20-year story in its entirety to the Gazette, within the broader narrative of how the Glens Falls Civic Center and Red Wings triggered a minor league pro-sports boom in the metropolitan area.

For that, Mike, who worked for the Gazette as a sports writer and columnist for 25 years, will be inducted into the Adirondack Hockey Hall of Fame, for which there will be a ceremony on Friday during the Adirondack Thunder’s match against Reading on the ice rink, renamed Cool Insuring Arena in 2017.

The longtime NHL player Claude Loiselle, who helped Adirondack win the AHL’s Calder Cup in 1986 and remains involved in managing the arena in Glens Falls, and James Henry, the Thunder’s face for six seasons, leading the franchise in games played and career points , joins Mike as members of the 2022 AHHOF class.

Mike credits former Gazette sports editors Jack Hugerich and Butch Walker for giving him the opportunity to cover this new pro-hockey team when they first dropped the puck in 1979.

It naturally suited Mike, who came to the Gazette from the Glens Falls Post-Star, where he was sports editor, when the newspaper told the story of the Civic Center getting an AHL team, an effort run by the legendary Ned Harkness.

“I did not know what I was doing and we managed to get enough that we were sure we could run this story,” Mike said.

“We called Harkness around 9am to tell him we wanted to run this story and his comment to us was’ You’re going to blow us out of [expletive] water ‘And he called the publisher and he tried to prevent us from running the story, but we ran the story.

“Fast forward to August. At this point, I’m this young, unqualified sports editor. And I think, ‘I know who’s going to cover this team.’

Except it was not for the Post-Star.

Mike started on the Gazette the day after Travers Stakes was run on the Saratoga Race Course in August, and “a week later Butch Walker and Jack Hugerich came to me and said, ‘We reckon you know more about this hockey team than any of the our guys do, so we want you to cover it. ‘

“The connection was Harkness. Harkness had been famous in Troy [as RPI’s national championship-winning coach] when Jack Hugerich was the sports editor of the Schenectady Gazette from 1948 to 1984. We had no arenas. We had not had any professional sport in the metropolitan area since the Schenectady Blue Jays. “

Mike covered the first Adirondack Red Wings game in 1979 and the franchise’s penultimate game in 1999 before the team moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to be closer to the NHL parent organization in Detroit.

These two matches led to three Calder Cup championships, in 1981, 1986 and 1989.

I was so lucky to follow along to help Mike cover the 1989 Calder Cup final against New Haven.

Lasting photos include a beer bottle flying over our heads in the press box during a fight at the New Haven Coliseum, and filing stories in Glens Falls as we flash through the sting of champagne that had been poured over our heads in the locker room after the Adirondacks insane. 10-7 victory to win the series.

The Detroit Red Wings fan tradition of throwing a dead squid on the ice during the Stanley Cup playoffs had been recreated at the Adirondack-New Haven match.

Red Wings player Robbie Nichols managed to get his fingers in the squid and draped it over the neck of a TV reporter during a live shot in the locker room.

It was Lou Crawford who walked into Dango’s on Maple Street in full gear, hours after the game was over.

And it was Miroslav Ihnacak who was surprised when Mike sprayed him with a beer at Dango.

“I was in a suit and tie, because that’s how we dressed at the time, and I managed to get in and out. [in 1981 and 1986] without being overwhelmed, ”Mike said. Miroslav Ihnacak sprayed me in the locker room [in 1989]. I was so angry. So an hour or two later he walked into Dango’s and I saw him, shook a beer and sprayed him. He was so angry.

“Wait a minute, you just did that to me. Turnabout is fair play. ”

“Adirondack did not want to win another title, but stayed at Glens Falls until 1999 and became the subject of a book,”Minor in Name Only: The History of the Adirondack Red Wings, ”written by Mike and released in 1994.

In his view, the history of the Adirondack was the focal point of pro sport throughout the region.

“It was the only game in town,” he said. “For me, that building and the Adirondack Red Wings, it’s the most important moment in sports in the second half of the 20th century. Horse racing was already popular and here already. When this came around in 1979, it changed this market.

“And there have been a lot of failures. It’s less league sports. But you can draw a straight line from Glens Falls Civic Center to the MVP Arena in downtown Albany. Jim Coyne was just completely jealous of what was going on in little old Glens Falls, where they have an average of 4,000 people in a game. “

Mike remains the sole triple winner of the James Ellery Award, which the AHL has awarded since 1964-65 for outstanding coverage of the league.

He missed Adirondack Red Wings’ last game before the franchise was moved, to attend a show at Troy Music Hall with his parents and wife Kathy.

“My dad ended up dying that year in September, and his health had been in decline,” Mike said.

“I did not expect them to lose, and then they would never be there again. Attendance had been poor, but we had no idea it would be.

Mike’s father Herb had been the Adirondack Red Wings season card holder throughout.

Three Calder Cup championships and Adirondack Red Wings coaches, players and staff were all props and characters in the 20-year-old tale.

The same was the fans who filled the space.

“I want to see my dad out in the stands,” Mike said. “When I’m on the ice [for the ceremony on Friday], there are many ghosts there. And I was a young guy now going back like an old guy and most of those people are gone.

“That team changed the sports market here. I’ve been to Dubai, Hong Kong, a lot [Kentucky] derbies, I’ve been to every Breeders’ Cup since 1994. But the funniest thing I had in my career was covering the Adirondack Red Wings in the 1980s, when Bill Dineen was coach, winning the three titles. It was alive. It was amazing, especially Saturday nights. There were large crowds.

“And it was not just Glens Falls and South Glens Falls and Corinth. It was people from all over the metropolitan area, Schenectady, Clifton Park and Albany… It was a big thing, and it was fun.

“So I was lucky enough to be able to be right there for all that.”

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