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Fwd: (Article) Eddie Arcarian & The Provo Paragons

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  • Frank TEX Liebmann
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1, 2007
      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.

      Frank



      --- In hockhist@yahoogroups.com, "Joe Pelletier" <fuzzymonkey@...>
      wrote:

      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
      Ulmer
      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
      games.

      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
      do.

      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
      for research.

      There were no players when Eddie got there. But he took care of that
      soon enough.

      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
      out.

      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
      language.

      "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
      Saskatchewan.

      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
      pucks.

      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
      http://www.lcshockey.com/history


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

      --- End forwarded message ---
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