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Jack Falla
June 02, 1986
What seems at first a cup of sorrow is found in the end immortal wine. THE BHAGAVAD GITA
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June 02, 1986

How A Roast For An Ex-netminder Grew Into The Warmest Of Tributes

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What seems at first a cup of sorrow is found in the end immortal wine.

"That's sick," I said when my friend Mark (Doc) Kelly called to tell me about the anniversary party.

"Heavy-duty laughs," Doc said. "Besides, he knows about it."

"I still think you're hitting the guy where he lives," I said.

"We're taking your car," Doc said.

The written notice arrived a few days later. It was from Sam Simmons, a teacher and hockey coach at South Kent School, South Kent, Conn. It read, in part:

"February 7, 1986 marks the tenth anniversary of one of the more memorable events in National Hockey League history. It was on this night in 1976 at Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, that Darryl Sittler set an NHL record by notching ten points (six goals, four assists) in a single game. The Leafs were hosting Boston that night and tending goal for Da Broons was your friend and mine, David Reece."

Simmons reported that while Sittler, a sixth-year man in that 1975-76 season, played for nine more NHL seasons, Reece had "gone on to other things...particularly to Springfield and Rochester in the American Hockey League." The note concluded with an invitation to join "about 20 people with whom David feels he could share this evening" at a Roast of Reece on the anniversary of the game that effectively ended his NHL career.

It still sounded sick, or at least it did until the next day when Reece called, his words tumbling out in hoarse exuberance. A man who can't say hello without pushing the enthusiasm indicator off the dial, Reece sounds like John Madden.

"Naw, it'll be great," he said. "Great! I think we should invite Sittler. Some goalies keep guys in the NHL. I put that s.o.b. in the Hall of Fame. He should stop by and say thanks."

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