Celebrity sports fans are nothing new, especially in hockey, where you often will see Susan Sarandon or Darryl McDaniels from Run DMC at the Garden for a Rangers game, and Kevin Connolly or Ralph Macchio at Barclays Center watching the Islanders.
Alan Thicke was a true diehard pucks lover of the highest order, and the Ontario-raised ’80s sitcom star’s passing this week invoked a slew of remembrances from around the NHL, from commissioner Gary Bettman to Wayne Gretzky on down.
My favorite Thicke-based memories probably were the kitchy parody songs he wrote about hockey when I was kid and first learning to love the game in the late-1970s.
There was one cheesy tune entitled “Hockey-Sock Rock” featuring former Rangers Phil Esposito, Ron Duguay, Dave Maloney and John Davidson, as well as the B-side “Excuse My Misconduct” from the Los Angeles Kings — Thicke’s adopted team after moving to Hollywood — with The Triple Crown Line: Charlie Simmer, Dave Taylor and Marcel Dionne.
The Rangers’ singing quartet even was dubbed the Ooh La La’s, after those commercials for Sasson jeans made famous by those Blueshirts teams. The “Hockey-Sock Rock” single sold over 100,000 copies, with the proceeds of the recording going to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Thicke also was a composer of some of TV’s unforgettable theme songs, including Diff’rent Strokes and its spinoff The Facts of Life, as well as the original themes to Wheel of Fortune and other game shows.
Thicke, 69, died earlier this week when he suffered a heart attack while playing hockey with his 19-year-old son, Carter. He is survived by two other sons, Brennan and pop singer Robin Thicke, of “Blurred Lines” fame.
Alan Thicke also was heavily involved in various NHL charities and was famously close friends with Wayne Gretzky, who was at the actor’s house in Toronto when he received the phone call that he was traded to the Kings in 1988. He even was the Master of Ceremonies at Gretzky’s wedding to actress Janet Jones.
“Outside of the Oilers and the Kings and my wife and I, he was the first person that knew the trade was going to happen,” Gretzky said in 2014. “I knew he wasn’t going to say anything. Most importantly, he was probably the biggest L.A. Kings fan in town, so he probably wanted it to happen more than anybody.”
Also, for Mets fans unfamiliar with Thicke’s career, the name of his patriarchal character on the popular ’80s sitcom “Growing Pains” was Dr. Jason Seaver. His family’s neighbors on the Long Island-based show even were named the Koosmans.
Perfect touch. And rest peacefully, to one of sports’ legitimate celebrity fans.
OUTTA BOTTE EXPERIENCE
The Spurs started this whole thing with resting veterans en masse a few years back, and it certainly made some sense for an aging team to preserve Duncan and Ginobli and Tony Parker for the playoffs.
But sitting out LeBron, Kyrie and Kevin Love all at once in Memphis on a Wednesday night in December?
That might be a little much, no question. Surely, you have to feel bad for any Grizzlies fans paying big bucks to see the Cavaliers in person.
But I always go back in these situations, now more than ever when it comes to spending hard-earned dough, to what another famous TV dad, Mike Brady, taught me years ago:
“Caveat Emptor, Greg. That’s Latin for let the buyer beware.”
— All you needed to know about that Larry Nance Jr. dunk in Brook Lopez’s face on Wednesday night was the immediate cringing reaction by the Nets’ bench on the right of your screen.
Look out below, Brook!
Brook gets to be on a poster now, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When I was in college, I covered up Michael Jordan’s name on a door-length pic by writing Kenny “Sky” Walker, the former Knicks slam dunk champ who was ducking for cover when posterized by His Airness in the shot.
— No real surprise on Jeurys Familia’s domestic assault case getting dismissed Thursday morning.
It seemed to be headed that way for weeks since his wife — who had “visible injuries” from the Halloween incident, according to the initial complaint — requested that the charges be dropped, which happens often in these cases.
The Mets’ closer still faces a deserved ban from MLB, one year after Aroldis Chapman and Jose Reyes also accepted suspensions despite no formal charges sticking on their records.
— Odell Beckham Jr. now has requested an offseason “speed training” session with Usain Bolt.
Yep, after dusting the Cowboys down the sideline the other night, he still believes he can get faster.
— With Seattle facing the Jeff Fisher-less Rams on Thursday night, brash Seahawks corner Richard Sherman likened these slogging midweek games to getting “the middle finger” and “a poop-fest.” Well put.
— Former Falcons running Jamal Anderson was ticketed for exposing himself Wednesday morning at a gas station convenience store in Georgia.
Or, as they officially referred to it in the police report, showing his “Dirty Bird.”
— Entering Thursday’s action, the top 5 teams in the NHL’s Metro Division — Pitt, the Rangers, Columbus, Philly and Washington — went an unfathomable 22-2-0 over the previous 10 days.
I might have to flip-flop again on saying last week that the Islanders — a dozen points out of the playoffs already to start the day — still have plenty of time to make a run.
Speaking of the Dirty Bird, here are my Top-5 favorite recurring NFL celebrations:
5. The Funky Chicken, Billy “White Shoes” Johnson, Oilers/Falcons.
4. The Salsa, Victor Cruz, Giants.
3. The Lambeau Leap, various players, Packers.
2. The Ickey Shuffle, Ickey Woods, Bengals.
1. The Fun Bunch, various players, Washington.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News