In this week’s Getting To Know, Randy Burridge explains his long list of nicknames. Burridge also tells the story of his first career NHL goal, which was followed by a post-game wedding.
Status: NHL left winger from 1985-1999 for Boston, Buffalo, Washington, Los Angeles.
HT: 5-9 WT: 185 pounds
DOB: Jan. 7, 1966 In: Fort Erie, Ontario
First Hockey Memory: “I started in a house league, I started skating when I was eleven. Me and my brothers always played street hockey. My brother said, ‘Let’s join (ice) hockey.’ My first game was on a Saturday and that same day golf was on TV. I didn’t really want to play, I wanted to watch golf on TV, I was really into golf back then. I went to the game and we lost 3-2. I came back and told my brothers and they were like, ‘Ah, you lost.’ Yeah, but I scored both of our goals. We ended up winning the championship and I went to all stars. It’s funny how it started and how it all worked out.”
Hockey Inspirations: “It was more along the lines of watching the Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers, when they won the Stanley Cup in ’75. I really liked Bobby Clarke because of his toughness and leadership. I also liked the Montreal Canadiens, they were such a fast team.”
Last Book Read: “A motivational book…Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking.”
First Famous Player You Met Or Encountered: “Fort Erie, Ontario is right across the river from Buffalo. Richard ‘Rick’ Martin lived right around the corner. We knocked on his door everyday. He was very nice to us every time, it taught us how to treat fans. When I met him in Buffalo years later I told him that.”
Nicknames: “Dude. Animal in the house league. In junior A – Garbage – some guys couldn’t pronounce Burridge and I scored a lot of garbage goals. Stump in Boston. Stump Pump for the fist pump I did when I scored goals.”
Greatest Sports Moment(s): “A couple, I was very fortunate. I made the All Star team in 1992, I had a great year in Washington playing with (Dale) Hunter and (Dino) Ciccarelli, we had a great power play. Flashback to my first game in the NHL. I was playing junior in Peterborough and they called me up at seven in the morning. I caught a bus from Peterborough to Toronto, where the Bruins were playing that night. After the pre-game, I took a nap. (GM) Harry Sinden called me at five and said, ‘Sorry, kid, you can’t play tonight.’ I wasn’t signed yet. The rule was I couldn’t play until the fifteenth of the month and it was the fourteenth. So I went back to Peterborough and had a goal and two assists on Friday. On Saturday I played my first game in the NHL in Boston… I played in two (Stanley Cup) finals with Bourque, Neely, Middleton. As a rookie, they taught me how to play the game. In LA (coach) Barry Melrose told me I was playing with Gretzky and Kurri against Toronto. I was like, What?! The two greatest players in the game. I should have had two goals in that game. We went to Detroit and were down 3-0. Then Gretzky set me up and I tied it up 3-3. I played with them about fourteen games. Then I walked on as a free agent with Buffalo, had a great camp. They signed me, I played with Pat Lafontaine, had a great year, they signed me for three years.”
Most Painful Moment(s): “When I was at the All Star Game I blew my knee out. Missed that whole year and the rest of the next year. Physically. Mentally – Buffalo sending me down. The last game I played with Buffalo at San Jose I had a goal and an assist and never played again in the NHL. They wanted to go with younger guys. When it was close to the playoffs, they send me down.”
Favorite Uniforms: “I like them all. Boston – I thought I’d wear the Bruins jersey all my career. I liked Washington’s. Los Angeles – the black, silver and white. Buffalo – we unveiled the new uniforms in front of 20,000 fans at practice. I remember they were saying like 40 networks from around the world were there covering the unveiling.”
Favorite Rink To Play: “I loved playing in Quebec, the Colisee. I had some great games there. Fastest ice in the league. Edmonton’s ice was very good but I had better games in the Colisee. Boston Garden was great to play in.”
Funniest Player Encountered: “I thought Keith Crowder was the funniest guy. He had the driest humor, made me laugh all the time. Lyndon Byers was funny. And a little crazy.”
Closest Hockey Friends: “Now is J-F Jomphe. We played on a team together in Las Vegas. Bob Sweeney was my roommate on the road. I built a lot of relationships with different teams, living out west (in Las Vegas) I hang out with Ducks and Kings alumni because I played with the Kings.”
Fiercest Competitors Encountered: “I was a Montreal Canadiens fan as a kid. As soon as I got drafted, the first year in Boston, the rivalry was huge with Montreal, Petr Svoboda, Chris Chelios, I hated them. But then years later I found out 99% of the players are great guys. We also had big rivalries with Hartford, (Kevin) Dineen, and Buffalo.”
Most Memorable Goal: “Has to be my first NHL goal, pass across from Ray Bourque, tied it up against Philadelphia with two minutes to go. Then after the game Rick Middleton got married.”
Funny Hockey Memory: “In practice in Boston my second or third year. In practice, we had the sweats on, no helmets. Gord Kluzak and Craig Nienhuis cut across and ran into each other, like two big blocks of wood, both were knocked out. They were out for like three seconds, dazed and confused, not even moving. (GM Harry) Sinden called (coach Terry) O’Reilly and said, ‘Everybody’s gotta wear helmets in practice.’ Jay Miller didn’t want to wear a helmet. Terry O’Reilly told Sinden that ‘Some players don’t want to wear helmets in practice. What’s the purpose of covering cement with plastic?’ Cement head.”
Embarrassing Hockey Memory: “My second year, I slept in and missed practice in LA. I didn’t play for a week for the rest of the trip and got sent down to the minors. Sitting in the office with Harry Sinden, he told me, ‘You’re going to Moncton.’ Guys joked how the year before I won the car for winning the Seventh Player award, then the next year they gave me gas to get there. The year I came back I won the Seventh Player award again, voted by the fans, for the player who plays above and beyond expectations.”
Strangest Game: “In Boston in the finals, the power went out against Edmonton; Gretzky tied it up with a minute to go in the second period then the power went out and we went back to Edmonton. One time in Buffalo, the maintenance guys were checking the clock over the ice and had it on pulleys. The clock came down and smashed on the ice and they cancelled the game.”
People Qualities Most Admired: “Just try and look for the best in every person. Treat people like you like to be treated.”
Mark “Scoop” Malinowski’s latest book “Facing Nadal: Symposium Of A Champion” is available at Amazon.