"All right, time for lunch," he said, "and then I've got to drive downtown and pick up Jack Zitzman. He's a man who's building a rink in Ohio, and he's giving us the money today." Stapleton drove next door to the King's Palace, a bastion of patriotism where the owner, Sam Sutter, stops everything in late evening and leads the diners in a chorus of
America the Beautiful. Sutter would not let Stapleton pay for lunch. "If you hadn't won," Glassford said amiably, "nobody around here would know you."
Driving back into Chicago, Stapleton reflected on his career as a rink builder and manager. "I made a rule when we opened the Downers Grove rink that a buzzer had to go off every two minutes and the coaches had to change their lineups in kids' games," he said. "The coaches hated it. They wanted to win. I want the kids, all the kids, to play hockey. Who cares whether you win or lose at the age of 7 or 8?"
Stapleton's hockey future clearly is aligned with his rink-building interests. "I don't want to play in a city that has too many rinks," he said. "I want a place with virgin rink territory. Chicago, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Kansas City. Places like that. I still enjoy the game, sure. And I don't think I've lost anything. I'm trying to look down the road 15 or 25 years."
At Meigs Field, Stapleton parked his Thunderbird in a no-parking zone and went inside to meet Zitzman. "Good going against New York," Zitzman said. Stapleton shrugged his shoulders. "No last-minute problems, are there, Jack?" he said. "Let's sign the papers."