If the expansion of major league ice hockey west and south is to produce the next big national pro sport, as we hope and believe it will, nothing will contribute more than good, contentious, opinionated talk. In this issue we salute the new season with some informed talk by Pete Axthelm on the prospects and the personalities (page 34) and by Montreal Coach Toe Blake on how to watch the game to get the most out of it (page 38). For actual and potential fans in the new hockey towns who want to fire their own opinions in the most congenial surroundings but are puzzled where to go, we herewith offer a guide.
If you are a Pittsburgh fan and have decided, say, that Andy Bathgate's old bones can/cannot last the season, sound off at the Pleasure (4729 Liberty Avenue, 10 minutes from Civic Arena). This is the hockeyest of all the hockey hangouts, run by a lifelong buff named Johnny Collinger who ministered to the old Hornets and now counsels the Penguins on matters of the heart, housing and victuals. The motherly gray-haired waitress is Agnes, and the bartender is Chas. "This," says Chas., "is the boys' home away from home." Bar Manager Spotty LeDonne is admired locally for having dispelled the evil eye that had put a onetime Hornet player, Bob Dillabough, into a scoring slump. Employing an old Italian cure at LeDonne's behest, Hornet fan Adolph Donadeo lit a candle before Dillabough in a dark room, then put seven drops of oil into a saucer of water. "If the oil breaks," says LeDonne, "the spell is broken. It broke, and the next game Dillabough got a goal—after he had missed 15 open nets, mind you." Vealparmigiana ($3.25 with the trimmings) is a popular dish at the Pleasure, and a Martini is 75¢.
Followers of the St. Louis Blues who have not paid $100 to join the Arena Club (whiskey $1.50, beer 75¢) can find soulmates at several restaurants within slap-shot distance of the Memorial Arena, among them Stan Musial & Biggie's, Mr. D's and Le Masque. Ruggeri's, up on The Hill, is an established sports spot. The In place, though, is the Arena Bowl just next door to the rink, where visiting players often lift a quick stein before leaving town.
Irish is the house language at The Brown Jug in Philadelphia (46th and Market) where Miss Catharine Hastings dispenses steaks and chops at dinner, thick club sandwiches after the game and hockey expertise at all times. A 12-ounce sirloin steak will set you back $4.50, Scotch or bourbon 75¢.
A quarter of a mile from Minnesota's new Metropolitan Sports Center, home of the North Stars and the basketball Muskies, is Eddie Webster's steak house. Eddie opened in 1965, just in time to console Minne's World Series losers. His fanciest steak costs $6.75, bourbon is 60¢, Scotch 75¢, and the talk in the Peanut Pub—one of the three bars on the premises—is mostly muscle.
In Oakland the most popular rendezvous for California Seal fans is the Edgewater Inn, directly across Nimitz Freeway from the Coliseum Arena. There is a convenient footwalk over the freeway and, for choosier fans, a bus to the games. In the Sabre Room, a lounge favored by sports people, drinks are six bits by day, 90¢ at night.
If you have been charmed or outraged by Jack Kent Cooke, one of the nicest places to spout in Los Angeles is Julie's (3730 South Flower, near the USC campus). The specialty is Julie's sandwich—prime beef and American cheese grilled on sourdough bread, served with tossed salad or baked beans for $1.75. Do not show up on game night without a reservation or with an opinion on the Kings that you are not prepared to defend.