It was Dave Keon and Ronnie Ellis who Glen Sharpley used to imitate during his road hockey days as a kid, but Marcel Pronovost was his greatest influence during his days in junior hockey. Sharpley also recounts the embarrassment of missing a wide-open net.
Status: NHL center for Minnesota and Chicago from 1976-1982.
Ht: 6-foot Wt: 190
DOB: September 6, 1956 In: York, Ont.
First Hockey Memory: “Wow…goes way back…probably sitting around with the family watching Leafs games at 8:10. 8:10…that’s when they started when we were kids, it never started at 8 it was 8:10. We had a black and white TV. I remember learning how to skate. But I have no recollection of the first time playing out on the ice.”
Hockey Inspirations: “Early on it was your heroes playing street hockey – Dave Keon, Ronnie Ellis. Later on, when he coached me in junior, because of his calming influence and his knowledge of the game, it was Marcel Pronovost. He was an amazing guy. He was my best influence during my junior days.”
Greatest Sports Moment: “I don’t know if you can put a pinnacle on something like that. My career was cut short (from eye injury suffered from an accidental highstick on a follow through on a clear pass from defenseman Darren Veitch). I like to think the greatest moment never happened. Maybe eliminating Minnesota with Chicago a year after I was traded. Maybe you can call it a little sweet revenge. I liked all the guys on Minnesota, it was probably some of the hierarchy not (GM Lou Nanne) that I didn’t see eye to eye with. In ’78 we won the bronze medal at the world championships in Prague, playing with Pat Hickey, Wilf Paiement and those guys. In the bronze medal game against Sweden I scored a big goal. Canada had been trounced the year before at the world championships and hadn’t done well there in years.”
Most Painful Moment: “Obviously my eye injury, physically and emotionally, all the way around including the post accident. I regretted taking the advice of someone I really trusted. Obviously the most painful moment is the ending of your career. Nobody wants to end it with an injury. There’s always that, ‘What if.”
Favorite NHL Uniforms: “Chicago.”
Favorite Rinks: “Chicago Stadium. Ahhh, Chicago Stadium. The old Maple Leaf Gardens – I was a Toronto boy. And probably the old Forum in Montreal. The rinks were amazing in the old days.”
Nicknames: “Satch in junior. Sharps ever since.”
Most Memorable Goal: “I scored some pretty goals. But the most memorable was probably in the playoffs with Chicago against Minnesota. I actually scored two, one in Minnesota and one to seal the deal in Chicago. You tend to rev up your game against your ex-team. I’ve scored pretty ones but they were not the most memorable [laughs].”
Embarrassing Hockey Memory: “When you’re given the ultimate, easy empty net pass from twelve feet away and you miss. You think, How did I miss that? That frustrates you. In junior you never missed those but in the pros sometimes you did. Marcel Dionne was the best at that. He always punched them as hard as he could, that’s why he got so many goals around the net.”
Strangest Game: “There was a bat flying around in the arena in Minnesota. I knocked it out of the air with my stick and killed it, so they called me Batman for a while after that. I remember the power went out once. But nothing really too crazy.”
First Famous Player You Met Or Encountered: “When we were young the players were more accessible. We’d go to watch Leafs practices. I’ve got old black and white pictures of Leafs coming out of the dressing room – Ron Ellis, Bob Pulford. The first meeting of a player I had, where I could sit and chat was with Marcel Pronovost during my junior days.”
Funniest Player(s) Encountered: “Oh my gosh…Paul Shmyr, who recently passed away, was a fun guy. Bill Butters. Dave Hutchison in Chicago. There was lots of comic relief in the dressing room. Gary Smith, goalie in Minnesota, he pretty much laughed non-stop. I was accused of not taking the game serious enough. Glenn Sonmor (coach in Minnesota) said ‘You have too much fun. You have to take the game more seriously.’ Really?”
Fiercest Competitors Encountered: “There were great guys on the Islanders. There were brutal guys on the Flyers. Guys like Clark Gillies and Bryan Trottier were grinding you and working you all game long. And you could expect the same game from them every day. The guys in Philly didn’t have the same ability those guys had. And the guys on the Flyers didn’t have the same effect after they disbanded and played on other teams. Darryl Sittler and Lanny McDonald would grind you too. They were relentless on you.”
Funny Hockey Memory: “Too many. Maybe that’s why we never won a Cup. We had so much fun. There was comic relief in the dressing room, somebody would always say something. Even when you lost, somebody would always have something to say. (Any particular one-liners come to mind?) There were so many, literally it was every day. The quick-wittedness. You just remember you were constantly laughing. Those were amazing times.”
Favorite Sport Outside Hockey: “I still play two times a week with some pretty good guys. I still go at it pretty hard. Hockey is still number one. I like golf, don’t love it, I play tennis, ski once in a blue moon. I like to watch the NFL playoffs.”
Three Players You Like To Watch: “I have a soft spot for Matt Duchene. I sharpened his skates as a kid. He’s an exciting player. His best is yet to come. Basically nobody with Toronto [smiles]. There’s a couple of exciting guys…Tampa Bay’s big gunner Stamkos is exciting to watch. Detroit’s got a couple of guys who are really, really great hockey players.”
People/Personality Qualities Most Admired: “Loyalty. Genuineness. It’s a pretty simple thing but it’s the point of rarity today. We’re pretty worldly as a people. Humor’s a huge thing too.”
Mark “Scoop” Malinowski is the author of two new tennis books: “Facing Federer” and “Facing Hewitt” He’s currently working on “Facing Probert.”