Stick Tap To The Nicest Guy On Ice

(Photo: Pope Steve XXVII)

I find myself fast approaching the age of maturity; in June I will turn 65. I am now paying the penalties of a youth well spent. Many adults bemoan the fact that ‘kids today’ spend all their time indoors playing games on the computer or x-box rather than outdoors. Had those toys been available when I was young I am certain I’d have done the same. They weren’t so I was always outside. I was fortunate to have a small ‘park’, complete with a pond for skating at the end of my street. My mom and dad also blessed me with six younger sisters. I was never at home.

Being a fair-skinned, freckle-faced kid with family roots in County Cork, Ireland, I developed skin cancer as a result of all that time spent outdoors. It is typical of we Irish to ignore a problem till it goes away. This one did not so I spent a few hours in surgery at Yale - New Haven Hospital having it corrected on Wednesday. When I went to work the next day I looked every bit as messed up as ‘The Joker” before he took his revenge on Gotham.

Moustache (which I had cultivated since 1974) gone, face swollen and distorted, a half grin, half sneer replaced my smile and a mound of gauze and tape adorned my left cheek. That’s what Trevor Gillies saw when he walked up and said “Hey, Big- Guy, get cut?”

I stand five feet and eleven inches. With two pockets full of change I might register 150 lbs. on an inaccurate scale. But it is always ‘Big guy’ with Gillies, and it is always accompanied by a fist bump. It took less than a second for me to realize he did not mean ‘cut’ as in - had an accident, but rather ‘cut’ as in - you had been under the knife.

“Had surgery yesterday,” I told him. “Skin cancer from the sun.”

“Good friend of mine is a greens-keeper at Augusta National” he said, “55 years old and he’s been cut five times already.”

“Had a lot of cuts myself,” he continued, pointing to various scars, “ but none for that.”

“I’ve seen you get a few, Trev and give a few as well.”

Big Gillies grinned, “Guess you have. You’ll be fine Big Guy, see you this weekend.”

I do not intend to infer that Trevor and I are friend’s, he treats all fans the same way. He is the nicest guy you will ever meet off ice. And yes, Mr. Gillies, you will see me this weekend, I’ll keep paying for my penalties while you and others serve yours. Hopefully, for many weekends to come.


-Mike Flannery
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Rob McGowan's picture

Always impressed with your posts, Mike but this is one of your best. And I told you to take as much time as you needed, and I think you only sat out for a day. I hope you continue to feel well and as I said before, great post. Take care of yourself and wear sunscreen this summer!

Mike Flannery's picture

Thanks again for all the support. Would not be doing this without your patience and help. Sun screen comment sounded like my mom though. Be well.

Jeffrey Sorak's picture

Nice story Mike. I agree with you that Trevor is probably one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. I have met a few times walking around the arena and he has always been cordial and a total gentleman.

Mike Flannery's picture

Thanks for taking the time to comment. You and I are lock step in agreement on Gillies as a man. Tired of having him pictured as a goon. Guy has class.

Jackie Estep- Ziegler's picture

Nice Article Mike! Hope you feeling better soon. Agree with tired of him being pictured as just an enforcer there is so much more to the real Trevor

Mike Flannery's picture

Glad you enjoyed it Jackie. You are right, Trevor puts the 'man' in gentleman. Be well, GO TIGERS!

George Prax's picture

That's a great story Mike. We often associate players to the descriptions we get of them from pundits or Shanaban videos but these are all regular people who just happen to be hockey players. Gillies sounds like a class act in this.

Hope you're doing okay and of course let me or Rob know if you need anything.

Mike Flannery's picture

Thanks for the kind words George. And thanks again for the opportunity to contribute to The Checking Line. Rob has been fantastic in his patience with me and has always been there for support and guidance. Be well.