I've been a follower, poster and sometimes advice giver on a backyard rink forum hosted by Yahoo for the past 3 years.
I've conversed with, and discussed various topics with Jack... I've been meaning to drop down to Chapters to pick up one of his books... I think I'll do that tomorrow. His new book, "Open Ice: Reflections and COnfessions of a Hockey Lifer" was released just after his passing.
I have copied and pasted a post I put up on the yahoo boards for those who did not know Jack.
I too was saddened by the news of Jack's passing.
I just opened the October 14th, 2008 issue of the Hockey News and found a touching article to Jack on page 11 by Kara Yorio. I apologize for any spelling mistakes - I thought I would write it here for those to see that do not have a Hockey News subscription.
Thunder Bay, Ontario
"Jack Falla 1944-2008"
THe skates and stick leaned against a photo display in the Wellesley, Mass funeral home. They looked lonely. It would have been more appropriate if they somehow joined the stream of mourners. For throughout his life, skates and a stick gave Jack Falla as much comfort and companionship and as many memories as any friend who lined up to say goodbye. Falla, an author, professor and sportswriter, died suddenly of a heart attack at age 64 on Sept. 14th.
He left behind his cherished family - wife Barbara, children Tracey and Brian and grandchildren, Demetre and Ella. And he left behind a hockey world filled with friends, colleagues and former students. Falla was a senior writer at Sports Illustrated in the 1980's, chronicling the rise and reign of Wayne Gretzky and the Oilers. He was a professor at Boston University and authoer of Home Ice: Reflections on Backyard RInks and Frozen Ponds; Quest for the Cup; and the recently released Open Ice: Reflections and COnfessions of a Hockey Lifer. He also contributed ot the The Hockey News, writing major essays in Century of Hockey and the Top 100 NHL Players of All-Time and acclaimed back-page columns for Inside HOckey.
Falla loved music and movies, good wine and a good meal. And he loved great writing. All styles, from any era. But hockey was his true passion; the threat pulling everything together, connecting generations and linking a lifetime of moments, good and bad. And despite covering it professionally, he remained forever a fan.
He revere3d the hockey gods who won five straight Cups for Montreal from 1956-1960. He sent highlight tapes of Bobby Orr to people who never saw the great Bruin play - because no one should be a fan of today's game without actually seeing the man who changed it. He felt compelled to attend Maurice Richard's funeral, found a reason to visit Georges Vezina's grave and created a professional purpose for a pilgrimage to the pond where Hobey Baker learned to skate. He loved the game, its beauty and brutality.
He built a backyard rink, the Bacon St. Omni, in Natick Mass and that ice - which was to freeze for its 25th year this winter - provided the page on which he wrote so much of his family history. It was here he passed the puck to his kids and then grandkids. Multiple generations of neighbors and friends signed the rink guest book and were rewarded with a lasting memory.
In "Open Ice", Falla wrote that hockey was important to him "For reasons that transcend standings, statistics and scores." He recalled a conversation with a fellow professor: "Why do you go to the draft? THey don't play hockey," the professor asked. Falla replied, "I go to see my friends," adding that the NHL is like a tribal gathering. "Hockey is the only tribe I belong to," he said.
The tirbe has lost a treasured member. The game has lost a fan and a friend.