Bernie Parent – Unmasked – Informative, Fun, Real

Triumph books has a real winner here. The photos are incredible. Bernie Parent was a winner but at the start of his career it simply wasn’t the case. As he and Stan Hochman, a legendary Philadelphia writer/reporter point out. I know goalies can take a few years to mature. Checkout this snippet and you’ll see why. This is a huge part of the equation for any netminder.

I soon realized I had the toughest job in sports. In baseball, a pitcher throws a pitch, and unless the guy hits it out of the park for a home run, the pitcher has a lot of people behind him to make plays. In football, if the quarterback throws a bad pass and it gets intercepted, he’s still got 10 other guys out there to make the tackle, to save a touchdown. When a goalie makes a mistake, there’s nobody behind him. The puck goes in the net, and the red light goes on. I do think pitchers and quarterbacks get too much credit when their teams win and too much blame when their teams lose. In hockey, you have five other guys out there with you. Each guy has a job to do. When the team plays well, it helps the goalie play well. If the team doesn’t play well in front of you, there’s a pretty good chance you will not play well. There’s no in-between. You have to get used
to being criticized when you lose. It comes with the territory. A goalie needs a short memory and a thick skin.

Boston called me up after we won the Memorial Cup. They didn’t put a lot of pressure on me— they just wanted me to be the guy who turned the Bruins into a playoff contender when they’d been finishing at the bottom for years. No sweat.

One night in Boston, the starting goalie, Ed Johnston, got cut on his forehead. I stepped on the ice to replace him, and bang, the fans were throwing bottles at me. You don’t get bottles thrown at you if you’ve been playing well. So I probably deserved that treatment.

I got sent down to Oklahoma City. Marcel Pelletier, who worked for the Flyers, saw me there and liked what he saw. I’m not exactly sure what caught his eye. Maybe because we were both Frenchmen? Maybe he needed glasses? Whatever it was, he was a goalie when he played, and he understood the position and filed a good report on me. Next stop: Philadelphia.

I loved reading about some of the problem that the Philadelphia Blazers had and how Ed Snider was offering to help them out and they refused. When you read the book you’ll find out about the situation.

There are a lot of jokes and Bernie-ism’s in here. And that’s what you would expect. There’s also a ton of honesty about his ups and downs and nobody likes to talk about their down times but he had some and he owned them.

He talked about pretending he was Jacques Plante when he played street hockey. I pretended I was Jean Ratelle. I didn’t turn into him but Bernie accomplished that dream. He became one of the best goaltenders of all time.

Parent talked about his bonus for winning the Vezina which would be $250.00. It’s so hard to believe how the game has changed and salaries have escalated.

The Dale Rolfe incident plays a prominent role in this book. There’s a quote from Brad Park’s mother about this that is tremendous.

Parent talks about his coach, Fred Shero in very fond terms. Even when he left the Flyers to take the GM/coach job with the New York Rangers he put that into context.

Bernie has earned the respect of former players and former foes. Just ask Ron Duguay. In the Winter Classic Alumni game he could have lit up the legendary Flyers netminder on one particular scoring chance but he didn’t do that.

"This excerpt from Unmasked: Bernie Parent and the Broad Street Bullies is printed with the permission of Triumph Books"

Purchase the book here: Unmasked: Bernie Parent and the Broad Street Bullies