Jamie Kennedy hadn’t seen Bill (Goldie) Goldthorpe in 35 years before Thursday.
You wouldn’t have known it by the reaction after they were reunited for a few minutes Thursday morning.
“When he befriends you, it’s for good,” Kennedy said afterwards. “I knew before I got there, he was going to give me a hug.”
And, sure enough, it happened in the parking lot of Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park.
“That’s Goldie for you.”
Before long the laughs were rolling as smoothly as the stories that they shared during their season playing together for the Syracuse Blazers of the North American Hockey League in 1973-74.
Goldthorpe reached up and took Kennedy’s hat off to check for a scar. As the story goes, Kennedy was hit one night with a full can of Miller beer.
Kennedy is in town for today’s P.E.I. Golf Classic at the Fox Meadow Golf Course in Stratford and next week’s Novus Celebrity Golf tournament at the Mill River Resort.
Kennedy was the Balzers’ second-leading scorer with 44 goals and 49 assists for 93 points in 71 games. Goldthorpe had 20 goals and 26 assists for 46 points in 55 games. He also had 287 penalty minutes.
“I had to take care of guys like Jamie,” Goldthorpe said.
“He went to the net. He did what he was told. He’d fight, ‘Oh, my god, he’d fight at the drop of a hat’,” Kennedy said.
“He’d stick up for guys. I just love him. I can’t wait until I see him,” he said Wednesday night. “He’s a real good guy. He’s loyal to his teammates. . . Everybody would love to have him (on their team) but they (wouldn't) love playing against him.”
Goldthorpe’s connection with the Kennedy clan wasn’t limited to Jamie. He played for Jamie’s brother, Forbie, with the Richmond Wildcats of the Southern Hockey League in 1976-77.
“To see Forbie and Jamie it’s awesome,” Goldthorpe said.
Thursday was a much different reaction than Goldthorpe’s previous recollection of visiting the Island in 1971.
“The last time I was here I got beat up in junior hockey,” he said. “You come here now, and everybody is shaking your hand, so it’s quite a relief.”
Goldthorpe was 16 years old and playing for the Thunder Bay Marrs in the Eastern Centennial Cup quarter-finals against the Charlottetown Islanders.
“We had a really good junior team, but we were all young.” Goldthorpe said.
“These guys were waiting in the weeds for us. They fed it to us. We got beat bad, physically and on the scoreboard. . .
“I told them all I was going to hunt them down and pound them,” Goldthorpe said, noting he settled a few scores through the years.
The Islanders won the series in six games, defeated Detroit Junior Red Wings in six games before losing the first Centennial Cup final in six games to the Red Deer Rustlers.
Need to know
Bill (Goldie) Goldthorpe
Who – A former minor league hockey player who was the inspiration for Ogie Ogilthorpe in the movie “Slap Shot”.
Age – 66.
Hometown – Hornepayne, Ont.
Life after hockey – Goldthorpe does construction work and speaking engagements. He now lives in Vancouver.
Did you know – He played with Kevin Devine with the San Diego Mariners in 1975-76.