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Paul Newman goes to Federal League in the sky

September 27, 2008 | 10:42 am


Holy Eddie Shore, with a heavy heart, we have to bid farewell to Coach Reggie Dunlop today, the only guy who would have stood a chance of making hockey popular in Los Angeles.

Paul Newman died today, taking with him many great characters. None was better than the washed-up, scheming, sharp-as-a-skate-blade coach of the Charlestown Chiefs. The movie "Slap Shot" did what NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has not been able to accomplish: make hockey popular beyond the small, tribe-like fan base south of the Canadian border.

Those who would shrug at the sight of Sidney Crosby skating up ice will always smile when Dave "Killer" Carslon goes after Tim "Dr. Hook" McCracken.

Those who decry the violence of the sport roll in the aisle laughing when the Hanson Brothers take the ice (" ... none of that stinkin' root beer").

And those who think they know how to market (hello Westwood?) should watch and take notes on how Reg fills the seats.

Old-time hockey never looked better. You bank on that because "Dickie Dunn wrote this. It has to be true."

Tip a few Labatts to Reg today.

Thanks, Paul, and one last thing, "Our line starts?"

-- Chris Foster

Photo: Paul Newman, as player-coach Reggie Dunlop watches from the bench as the Charlestown Chiefs play a Federal League game. Credit: Associated Press