Long before he was hosting the Olympics or Sunday Night Football, Bob Costas was doing minor-league hockey radio broadcasts for the Syracuse Blazers, and that’s where he came across Bill “Goldie” Goldthorpe. Goldthorpe, who had a famed minor-league hockey career and was the inspiration for legendary goon Ogie Ogilthorpe in Slap Shot, was just starting his professional career while Costas was announcing the Blazers’ games (Goldthorpe started with the team in 1973, and Costas left for St. Louis in 1974). He left quite the impression, though, as Costas describes in this TSN feature on Goldthorpe, “I Am Ogie”:
“He had a big shock of super-curly blond hair like Harpo Marx from the Marx Brothers movies,” Costas said in one key part of that feature. “Goldie, first of all, was a much more talented hockey player than people realized. Goldie could skate, he could stickhandle, he could shoot and he could score. He just preferred to beat the [bleep] out of you, that’s all.”
It’s cool to see Costas recalling his early days as a hockey broadcaster, and it’s clear that watching Goldthorpe was a memorable experience for him. This is a great feature on Goldthorpe from TSN senior correspondent Rick Westhead and senior field producer Josh Shiaman, and it’s good of Costas to take the time to talk about him. Goldthorpe’s story and its immortalization in Slap Shot is a memorable intersection of sports and media, and this is an excellent look at it after the fact. You can see more of it, and more of Costas’ comments, in the outtakes over at BarDown.