I got to know The Hockey News five years before it was born; and I kid you not.
The year was 1942; I was ten years old and already a confirmed hockey fan. But there was a problem. I lived in Brooklyn and hockey news in New York was slim to none.
Then, one day, while leafing through Jim Hendy's excellent 1943 Hockey Guide, I spotted a compelling ad on Page 71 with headlines I couldn't refuse:
WIDE AWAKE FANS READ THE SPORTS FAN, HOCKEY'S ONLY WEEKLY. And only for a nickel.
Wow! This was it; the answer to my hockey-reading prayers. I quickly sent my $1.25 for 26 issues to P.O. Box 62, Station "H", Montreal and awaited The Hockey News before there was a genuine Hockey News.
Alas, nothing happened. The Sport Fan, Hockey's Only Weekly never arrived; nor did my buck-and-a-quarter. Having nothing better to do than grin and bear it, I wondered whether there ever would be something called "Hockey's Only Weekly."
Then, one day in the summer of 1947, I received a form letter about – guess what? – a hockey weekly to be published, starting in October.
I ran to my mother who was making my daily oatmeal. "Ma, Ma, could this be for real?"
I showed her the letter signed by a guy I'd never heard of, Ken McKenzie, and told her about the lost buck-and-a-half from the non-existent Sport Fan.
Typically, Mom shot back, "Whaddya got to lose. Here's the dough; send away and see what happens!"
So, I sent away not too sure about this McKenzie fellow, let alone this still-unborn publication.
Then, I waited and waited and wondered if this McKenzie was kidding around or not. And one day, I opened the mailbox and did a double-take.
Make that a triple-take.
"Mom," I screamed, "it's here!"
"THE HOCKEY NEWS, Mom, here look."
And so it was with a big headline: PRO TEAMS IN SWING OF PRE-SEASON DRILLS.
I read every word; twice. I have not stopped 75 years later.