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Getting To Know: Curt Bennett

Mark Malinowski
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Curt Bennett (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images) Author: The Hockey News

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Getting To Know: Curt Bennett

Mark Malinowski
By:

The 10-year NHLer turned entrepreneur looks back at the favorite moments from his NHL career and those who influenced him along the way.

Status: NHL center/winger for St. Louis, Atlanta and the Rangers from 1970 to 1980. Resides in Maui, where he owns Hawaii Waterfalls, which creates rock ponds and waterfalls. He also works in real estate.

Career Accomplishments: Played college hockey at Brown University, where he was NCAA first-team all-American in '70; selected 16th overall in the '68 Amateur Draft by St. Louis; played in the NHL All-Star Game in '75 and '76; scored 152 goals in 580 NHL games; scored 34 goals for Atlanta in '75-76; played two years of pro hockey in Japan in the early ’80s.

HT: 6-foot-3 WT: 195 pounds

DOB: March 27, 1948 IN: Regina, Sask.

First Hockey Memory: "When I was a little kid in Rhode Island, my dad was the goaltender for the Providence Reds. I went with him to practice. Back then I couldn't get my skates tight enough and one of the players on the Reds tied them for me, nice and tight. I was about three."

Hockey Inspirations: "We grew up playing. We used to skate on the ponds in the '50s. There was one rink in Cranston called The Bowl. We had leagues. We all played. The games were two times a week on Thursdays and Saturdays. On Sundays we skated at the hockey school."

Current Car: "I have a Ford 250. And a Jeep Cherokee with no windows or AC."

Favorite Uniforms: "Our Atlanta Flames away uniforms were red. I liked that uniform the best."

Greatest Sports Moment: "Been a long time since I thought about hockey...back in my day they didn't have shootouts. I had one penalty shot in the NHL against Bernie Parent, in '74, when the Flyers were the top team in the league. And I scored and we won the game. That's probably my most memorable goal."

Most Painful Moment: "In Atlanta we got in the playoffs in our second year when ‘Boom Boom’ Geoffrion was our coach. We had a much better team in '76 and we lost to Los Angeles in a three-game series in the first round of the playoffs. That loss probably played a role in hockey leaving Atlanta. Then we got knocked out early in the playoffs by Detroit. That was probably the most painful team moment."

Last Book Read: "Probably the new Jimmy Connors book (The Outsider: A Memoir). And Andre Agassi's book (Open: An Autobiography). I played tennis in college and still play now. My mom was a tennis coach."

Favorite Rinks To Play: "Probably my favorite hockey arena was the Montreal Forum, because of the ambience, the crowd and the heritage. And it had very good ice. I also liked Madison Square Garden, because you felt that was the big time. Though the ice was a little chippy, there was a great atmosphere there."

First Famous Player You Met Or Encountered: "We were in Toronto. My dad took a team up there. I remember Eddie Shack was there and he signed our stick in the locker room."

Embarrassing Hockey Memory: "I got a lot of 'em. That's a tough one. In '79-80, my last year in Atlanta, I was anxious to make the team. We were playing a pre-season game against St. Louis, the team I previously played for. There was a minute to go in the game and St. Louis had a 2-on-0 on our goalie. I skated back and dove and caught the puck. Our goalie was sliding across to get the pass. And I deflected the puck right in the goal, with about 30 seconds left. St. Louis won 2-1. It was embarrassing. And I was trying to make the team. I remember after the game, the joke was, Bernie Federko said to my brother Harvey, 'The good news is Curt Bennett scored. The bad news is he scored for us.' "

Funniest Players Encountered: "Eddie Shack, the famous hockey character. The memory I have of him was in his last year in Pittsburgh. He wasn't playing much, and he got up on the bench and orchestrated the fans. Another was Mickey Oja. I remember in Kansas City he was at center ice, banging his stick to get the puck. He banged his stick so hard that he broke it in half. He did that a few times. Most of the funny stuff that happened was at practice or at the airports or the hotels. Bob Plager would do what was called the 'Hot News.' At the airport, if a guy was reading the paper, Bob Plager would go light the paper on fire with a match. And you could tell if the guy had never had the ‘Hot News’ before, he would get up and run around trying to fan out the fire on the paper. Today, if you did that at an airport you'd be treated like you were a terrorist or something."

Fiercest Competitors Encountered: "Bobby Clarke. The Flyers were a very competitive, feisty team. Bobby Orr. Guy Lafleur. They came and played well every game. They were stars but not casual stars. They played their best every game."

Strangest Game: "In Boston, there were times at the end of the season it got so warm that the ice got foggy and you couldn't even see the puck. We had to skate around and fan the fog out. In Oakland, they brought this girl by us in a blanket. The girl had got on the ice and streaked. We were in the locker room and heard a big roar. When we came out we saw them take the girl away wrapped in the blanket. But we missed the show."

Worst Injury: "Knee. I had arthroscopic knee surgery. That was in the early days of arthroscopic surgery. I had torn cartilage."

People/Personality Qualities Most Admired: "The old-school type of hockey guys. They had the older values, were humble, not cocky, respectful, respectful of the game. Guys like Doug Mohns, Jean Pronovost, Paul Henderson, Eddie Johnston, Carl Brewer. Those kinds of guys I used to really admire and look up to."

Mark ‘Scoop’ Malinowski’s latest book “Facing Federer” is available on Amazon. He is the creator of two websites: www.thebiofile.com and www.tennis-prose.com

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Getting To Know: Curt Bennett