A regular series where I write mini-biographies on you, the subscribers. If interested in me doing one of you, send your life story in a few paragraphs and a picture to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rich Solomon grew up in Houston in the 1970s, as a hockey fan, which meant only one thing: Gordie Howe and his two sons, Mark and Marty, who starred for several years in Houston with the WHA Aeros.
“(My) greatest (hockey) memory was never a trophy, or a scoreboard…it was skating warm-ups with the Aeros, and having Mr. Hockey himself, Gordie Howe taps me on my struggling six-year-old butt with his stick and smile while telling me to keep up. It was then going to the blue line for the National Anthem and having Gordie skate up and stand to my right, with Mark on my immediate left, and Marty to his left. I was six, but the fact wasn’t lost on me of where I was, and who I was with. They took the time to make a 6-year old feel like a pro. They were pure class. The song lasted forever. I can still see Gordie looking down on me, and I can still hear that anthem,” Solomon says.
Rich would go on to many years of competitive hockey as a goalie, almost making it to a major junior team.
“I’ve had my name chanted in the stands, my name and number on a poster, led my team onto the ice in innumerable championships across the country. My family moved to Denver to help support my hockey dreams (and because they fell in love with the place after two regional championship tournaments here). I’ve laced up with so many incredible players, and most of my life was simply revolving around time on the ice, or getting ready to be on it. I’ve touched “the Cup”, met Vladislav Tretiak (a hero of mine although he was a Soviet!), And I can almost recite verbatim the final thirty seconds of Al Michaels call of the Miracle on Ice.”
Injuries eventually forced him to stop playing seriously, and Rich would go on to become a paramedic in the Denver area. He became a big fan of the Denver Grizzlies, then the Avalanche. He lost his love of the NHL for a while after the canceled season of 2004-05 (“I was bitter about it,” he says) but he is back on board again with the game and the Avs.
vs brought me back to the pro game a couple years ago, and I’m once again a proud season ticket holder in the 300’s. Huge shout-out to the upper deck! We can watch the play on the ice from there, and not have to use the screens!
“My life took a different turn from the dreams of being paid to play, and I went into emergency services. In 1990 I became an EMT and joined a volunteer fire department just west of Red Rocks. In 2003 I became a paramedic, and last year I was appointed as the Fire Chief of a small combination (paid/volunteer) fire department just east of the Denver Metro area. There’s a ton of us hockey fans in the fire service, so a MASSIVE shout out to my Sisters and Brothers who are kicking it “Fire and Ice”.
Indeed, a shout out to all. Thanks for Rich for what you do and thanks for being a part of the Colorado Hockey Now family.
TAKE FIVE (QUESTIONS)
As a paramedic, what are the trends you’re seeing as far as car accidents go? I’m no saint on this either, but I see people staring at their phones ALL the time while driving. Do you tend to a lot of accidents where someone was texting and driving?
Categorically stating that texting and driving causes accidents is problematic for me. While technically true, and irresponsible of me as an emergency responder to say otherwise, I really feel that it’s a part of the larger “distracted” driving problem that our society has. While driving, there’s often too much attention paid to changing a radio station, watching videos/movies, reading a newspaper, applying makeup, suddenly having to find a lost item, and more; it’s all part of the bigger issue of being distracted and too comfortable, or too confident in yours, or other peoples abilities.
If you could be transported back in time, to live one full year in any time period and then be transported back to your current life and be able to talk about your time-travel year, what period would you choose and where?
This is maybe the hardest question out of the bunch for me. I’m a history buff, and particularly enjoy medieval history around 1000 AD as a starting point. But appreciating an era, and actually living in it for a year are two different things entirely. In most cases, I think we can agree it’s a miracle we’re actually here. In light of that, I might choose to live through 1969. There were so many historical and cultural events that happened that year, that it might be one of the best to be able to come back and talk about. As with any era, there were horrible events and war, but to be able to appreciate the scope of effort in landing on the moon, to check out Woodstock, to see Gordie Howe play for the Wings, these might be cool things to come back and talk about.
Not being able to clear pucks out when you have a good chance, on the PK, is my No. 1 hockey pet peeve. What’s yours?
Overturning a play based on video replay of an event that had nothing to do with the play. Proponents might argue that hockey is so fast and that everything impacts a play result. I would argue that’s a bunch of cra…
Your No. 1, best dish you can make is…?
Probably spaghetti. It’s a staple for men, I acknowledge that. But, I do like to play around with it here and there, and experiment with different seasonings and spices.
One time, many years ago, a grocery store I was at had filet mignon meat priced at something like $2.99 a pound, when it was usually $13.99 a pound. It was an obvious error by the person tagging the meat with the price labels. I bought out all the meat available. I probably bought about 10 pounds of filet mignon for like 30 bucks. Was I wrong, ethically, to have done that do you think? Do you think I should have alerted the store? It’s obvious that this is still in my subconscious. What would you have done?
Not my place in life to judge someone, unless you’re a Wings or Wild fan. Even with that said, I guess I have to answer. In this case, we’ve taught our daughter that she’s not entitled to anything extra in her life. She can only expect what’s due to her and nothing else. So we have turned around and gone back into a store when we’ve received too much change, more than when we haven’t received enough. We walk carts back to the store or to the corrals, because we took them out. We’re not entitled to extra fries or a dessert when a fast food joint forgets a burger. It’s sometimes a pain, and it’s not to be “goody-goody”. My father ran a grocery store for many, many years, and the person who’s responsible for an error doesn’t always get off easy. The cashier may have to pay for the differences themselves, or even lose their job; prices get raised because the costs have to get covered. Again, I don’t judge anyone for that kind of thing. Everyone has a different story. But if my dad were around, he would never allow me to do that and I’m confident that thinking lives on in my adult daughter.
Dater here: Now I feel like a complete jerk. You have properly shamed me. I will make it up to that store, with a donation on their behalf to some charity.