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OPINION: Sarnia’s Robbie Moore was gifted athlete and one-of-a-kind

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Randy Evans

When Robbie Moore passed at the age of 67 recently he left a loving family, scores of friends, and enough stories and goodwill to ensure a lasting legacy.

As a youngster, Robbie’s skill as a goaltender allowed him to progress through the Sarnia minor and junior hockey ranks, ultimately earning a scholarship to the University of Michigan.

He excelled in a blue and maize uniform, but despite setting an NCAA record and being a first-team All American, he went undrafted by the NHL.

The Detroit Red Wings turned down a tryout request. Fortunately, the Philadelphia Flyers did not, and Robbie landed a contract with the Flyers’ AHL farm team in Maine.

For three years he was a member of the AHL’s top goaltending duos, winning more awards and a Calder Cup, awarded annually to league champions.

Then, on March 6, 1979, he pulled on a Flyers’ uniform at the Spectrum in Philadelphia and spent the night between pipes.

In his first NHL game he recorded a 5-0 shutout and became headline news in the Philadelphia papers: MOORE BLANKS ROCKIES.

A second shutout would soon follow.

Despite playing just five regular season games he ranked 9th in NHL shutouts that year.

Standing five-foot-five, Robbie was a veritable David facing down Goliaths. He had a unique style and flair all his own – and the fans loved it.

Between plays he sometimes would jump up and sit on the top of the net, padded legs dangling over the crossbar as if to say, “I could stop you even in this position.” What goalie does that?

To the consternation of his coaches but delight of the hometown faithful, he was one of the first goaltenders anywhere to leave his crease to stickhandle and shoot the puck, thus becoming a third defenceman but also leaving the net open.

Robbie loved to sample the popcorn in the venues in which he played and, with a well-seasoned palate, judged arenas by the quality of their kernels.

His exploits were not forgotten. Thirty-seven years after his memorable debut with the Flyers, Philly sportswriter Mike Watson penned a column entitled, The Legend of Robbie Moore.

“The diminutive goalie stood just 5”5” but played bigger than that,” he wrote. “For a two month stretch Robbie was the talk of the Flyers faithful. It was something worth remembering.”

Robbie Moore played professional hockey player for eight years, and logged 11 games in the NHL with Philadelphia and Washington.

As his career was coming to an end, just one team showed an interest – the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Reportedly, Robbie advised his agent there was no way he would play for Harold Ballard, the Leafs irascible owner.

Of course, Robbie was more than an athlete. His devotion to his family knew no bounds, and to be one of his friends was a blessing.

He personified guts on the ice and kindness off it. He remains with us in spirit and memories.

RIP Robbie.

Randy Evans is a Sarnia resident and regular contributor to The Journal

 

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