I once hit Dave Semenko so hard, I asked if he was OK.
Semenko, who would later become the toughest guy in the NHL, was a six foot three, 205-pound forward with the Brandon Wheat Kings.
He was jumping onto the ice while I was rapidly, blindly skating backwards as a linesman during a WHL playoff game.
Crash! I went head-over-skates into the boards, turned onto my hands and knees and looked up at the hulking, stubbly enforcer, who was looking curiously down at me.
“Are you OK?” I asked Semenko, even though he probably didn’t even feel me run into him.
We stared at each other for a second. Then he laughed, as I stumbled to my feet.
I never again had trouble breaking up one of Semenko’s fights, something we chuckled about when he attended my father’s funeral as one of his fellow Oiler employees who came to Regina from Edmonton on a chartered flight.
Now we’ve lost Semenko to cancer at age 59.