Sunday, July 3, 2011

Todd Marchant... and how important he was

Todd Marchant was the dramatic hero of an overtime goal in game 7 of the first round of the playoffs in 1997.
 The goal lead to the Oilers' first playoff series victory in 5 years or my entire memory of the Oilers.  It was a huge thrill and easily one of my most memorable hockey memories period.  I was crazy excited, and pumped because CuJo had made one of the most memorable saves I remember in my life only moments earlier.  Doug Weight and Jason Arnott were the only stars, but Todd Marchant and his big time play allowed a generation to believe in the Edmonton Oilers for what they were at a time when they weren't what they once were, and everyone knew it.  Hell, Todd Marchant is second only to Ryan Smyth as the poster boy for what the Oilers of his era were.

I was 4 years old when they won the cup in '90.  I didn't even really get into hockey at all until I was five years old in '91 and then spent the next year or two learning and playing the game ( road hockey or Blades of Steel on the NES ) before I became interested in the professional level. After that  I spent the next few years looking back on '88 - '96 hockey cards to learn about players and playing more video games ( NHL Stanley Cup for the SNES which I owned and NHL '94-'97 which I'd rent ).  I also started playing novice ice hockey in '95.  In that time I also read Wayne Gretzky's Biography.  I didn't watch much Oilers hockey though.  Maybe I'd watch or listen to just over a handful of games a year.  I was too busy playing road hockey or video games or wasting my time in other childish ways to be bothered because I knew enough to know we were bad.  Around the time we drafted Arnott I perked up and started watching a few more games every year until '96 - '97 when I started to like the new make up of the roster.  The team had an attractiveness and they got it by working hard and letting Doug Weight do the pretty stuff.  Wow the guys on that team had heart.

The point is Marchant's goal came at a time in my life when my interest in the pro game could either have been fostered or it could have been left at risk. The emotion of that series win was an incredibly positive influence towards fostering it.  I always wished he'd come back.  He was great for Marty Reasoner to learn under, too.  Sometimes I wish Marty or Mike Greir would come back too.

Todd Marchant won the Stanley Cup in 2007 with Anaheim and he was the player I wanted to win the most from that Duck's team ( after the Pronger trade I called Anaheim to win that year too, actually ).  He retired earlier this week.  Nice red beard!  That's the way I like 'em.  He'll always be a hero of mine.

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