Fwd: (Article) Eddie Arcarian & The Provo Paragons
- Joe posted this years ago. At the time, I thought Provo didn't have
an indoor arena. In fact Provo did up to the early to mid 70s. (It
was turned into a Reams grocery store on Freedom Blvd for Dave S and
anyone else who may be familiar with Happy Valley.)
I had forgotten all about this until I was talking to somebody at
work who actually skated there at one time.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Joe Pelletier" <fuzzymonkey@...>
The following is an old article that I found and I really enjoyed.
Maybe someone else will enjoy it to. Frank Liebmann, this takes part
in near your spot on the rock named Earth.
"Eddie Arcarian: No Paragon Of Play by Play Announcing" by Michael
Inside Hockey May/June 1989
I've never told anyone this before but sometimes, even now, I tune my
car radio to 640 AM and hope to hear Eddie Arcarian.
I keep on hoping that maybe, by some fluke of the airwaves, I'll pick
up WUKE and some kid will have discovered a tape of one of Eddie's
They should rerun him like The Honeymooner: "Live from the John Smith
Arena, Hockey Night In Utah."
I'm sure they still talk about Eddie Arcarian in Provo, kind of the
way they reminisce about the plague in Europe. I even keep his
picture in my downstairs bar. He's up on the south wall between Jimmy
Fontaine and Bobby Orr.
The picture doesn't do him justice. For once that fistful of orange
hair isn't pointing north. His hand is at the mike, a finger touching
his right earphone. if you don't look closely, you can't even tell
how ugly his jacket is.
I never thought he was responsible for the demise of the Provo
Paragons, let alone the Tri State hockey League. Some do though, some
Hockey announcers were in short supply in Utah in 1964. So when the
station WUKE won the rights to broadcast the expansion Paragon games,
they began a frantic search for someone, anyone in Utah who knew puck
was a word you could say on the radio.
Apparently, Eddie was selling garage doors in Saskatchewan when he
heard about the spanking new Paragons. He didn't even call ahead, he
just drove straight to Provo, walked into the station manager's
office and told him he was a Mormon hockey announcer from
Saskatchewan on a personal mission to put Provo on the hockey map.
The station manger should have known something was up when Eddie
arrived for the interview wearing a yarmulke. Eddie was never much
There were no players when Eddie got there. But he took care of that
Eddie put an ad in The Hockey News and told prospective players to
show up for a tryout camp in Moose Jaw, and that the law said they
could have as many wives as they wanted in Utah.
He gathered 17 conscripts, made them shave and shower, gave each
player The Book of Mormon and bussed them through customs.
The Provo Paragons were a collection of misfits and industrial league
journeymen. They were captained by Jimmy Fontaine, who had spent most
of his career as a third string center in the AHL, just a flight,
Eddie would remind his listeners, away from the NHL.
Once the team was in place, Eddie went about making himself a hockey
personality. He figured he was going to be perched in the rafters of
every ice barn in the Tri State League, by God, he was going to stand
Eddie's idea of shopping was walking into a clothing store and asking
the manager to bring out everything he hadn't been able to sell. No
on esaid much, but to this day most of the oldtimers in Provo think
everyone from Saskatchewan in color blind.
He had to stand out in some way because, to tell you the truth, he
wasn't much of an announcer.
In the heat of the game, Eddie could always be counted on to
annihilate what most people in Utah thought was a fairly simple
"Referee Jacobson will ask these players to contravene their meeting
someplace else" Eddie used to say. Or during a row over a
penalty, "That call was a segment of someone's imagination."
When the sports director would bring up these mistakes, Eddie would
stand firm. "These are common hockey expressions," Eddie would say -
and who in Provo would argue? When the Paragons came from behind
after being booed, Eddie used to crow, " The fans here at the John
Smith Arena are really singing a different kettle of fish now."
There were people who didn't miss listening. I swear, some kept
lists. One night, Jimmy Fontaine scored an empty netter, and earned
his third goal of the game in the bargain.
"Lenny crushed two birds with one stone," Eddie said.
You can always pick out an old time Paragon fan. He's the one who
calls a three goal game a cap trick.
The Kings (I don't know where a team named Kings entered the picture,
but that's what is written!) were not a good draw. Some nights you
could hear Eddie's voice around the arena through portable radios.
When Eddie would say that he couldn't make head nor sense of
something, half the crowd and both back up goalies would cock their
head towards the radio booth.
"Interviews with French players were beyond words. "You'll have to
forgive Pierre" Eddie told the listeners one night, " he doesn't
speak English very good."
Poor Eddie refused to believe that in 1964, the people of Provo had
no use for semi-pro hockey. And so, he began to promote the game -
with, it must be mentioned, the tacit approval of WUKE.
Knowing that five cent beer night was out of the question in Provo,
Eddie created orange night.
Everyone through the gate got six free oranges. It was a smash. turns
out the Provo people hate hockey but feel pretty good about oranges.
About halfway through the second period, the game heated up and
someone hit a boulder player with an orange. The Boulder kid fired it
back into the crowd. Suddenly, the air was filled with oranges,
thousands of them. The game was delayed an hour and Eddie lectured
the listeners about how this tradition was never abused back in
I won't even tell you about the night of a thousand Frisbees or Pop
Tart night - except to say that, given a choice, the players
preferred being hit by pastry to plastic.
Look back, Provo really wasn't read for Moustache Night, or Beatle
Night, or hockey for that matter.
Aside from orange night, the same 300 people would cover to every
home game. Towards the end, Eddie was naming the fans catching the
When the team folded in '65, Eddie headed north, back to
Saskatchewan. Some people say he kept people away from the rink. Me,
I think he did what he could.
"Like me or hate me, " Eddie used to say " I'm one of a kind. The
last of the aboriginals."
Right you are Eddie. Right you are.
I am Joe! And I AM CANADIAN!!
Hockey Over Time
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