Friday night was Darren Pang bobblehead night at the Admirals game, and the guest of honor was on-hand for the festivities.
He really could not have been more accomodating.
Autographs, ceremonial first puck-drop, 1st intermission interview, color commentary with Aaron Sims for the 2nd period…
And then a quick interview with me…that turned into about 14 minutes.
The man loves talking hockey, and will talk about it with anyone that will listen. He is an amazing ambassador for the sport, for hockey fans old and new. Simply thanking him for his time didn’t feel like it was enough to show my appreciation.
We talked about a plethora of topics, including his time in the NHL, Ed Belfour, the 2010-11 Nashville Predators, the Winter Classic, the Steckel-Crosby hit, and our friend Aaron Sims….and we’ll get to those topics in subsequent posts this week.
But to start, here is Darren Pang, on his time in Milwaukee.
DP: I could probably write a book about the experience and it’s all positive. Number one, it was my first year pro. I had just gone from the Ottawa 67’s, where we won a Memorial Cup, signed with the Blackhawks, and we were told this was the #1 affiliate. I came here with a couple of buddies… John Ollson and Phil Patterson were both teammates of mine in junior hockey, so I had some familiarity. I knew Jim Ralph, he was my roommate on the road. And Randy Boyd, we were all graduates of the Ottawa 67’s so we had the same coach and we knew each other.
But the one thing that really I guess, as I remember that year, our very first game…. Cliff Koroll was coach originally, and he was replaced by Jimmy Pappin, because Cliff Koroll was recalled to the Blackhawks. But the first game was really neat because a lot of the Blackhawk alumni showed up to support Cliff. Dennis Hull, Keith Magnuson, were amongst many guys that ended up coming here, sitting behind the bench and they had signs for Cliff.
On a non-hockey note…Phil Wittliff co-signed by first car loan. I went to the bank, I believe it was called Marine Bank. I went down there, they wouldn’t give me a loan because I had no credit in the states. So I went upstairs and Phil Wittliff came down with me and he co-signed the loan.
RM: That sounds like something Phil would do.
DP: Those to me are great memories.
The Booster club — there’s a number of people that I saw tonight signing my bobblehead that were part of the booster club that did up the scrapbook at the end of the year. I told one of the ladies ‘I still have that scrapbook’. It meant a lot to us as players because as years go on and you retire, and you look back on it… I show my kids it. Yeah, that was me in the minors, I was 20 years old, I was making $22,500, I was playing in Milwaukee, and sharing an apartment with Kevin Robinson.
I really enjoyed my time here, and I thought that I was going to play here for a long time.