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Jamie Kennedy had a front-row seat for a tense interaction that quickly escalated between one of North America’s most recognizable sports announcers and ‘Wild Bill’.
Kennedy was playing in the North American Hockey League with the Syracuse Blazers. One of his teammates was Bill (Goldie) Goldthorpe, who was also known as Wild Bill and Harpo. Ogie Oglethorpe was based on Goldthorpe in the 1977 hit movie “Slap Shot”.
The Blazers’ play-by-play announcer was Bob Costas.
“I used to tease him all the time,” Goldthorpe admitted Thursday during a stop in Charlottetown. “What pissed me off was no matter how hard I teased him, I could never get his goat. . . He’d get mine just like that.”
On one road trip, Costas was reading the New York Times when Goldthorpe grabbed the paper out of his hands and destroyed it.
“Don't be jealous Goldie, I’ll teach you to read,” Costas recounted during the intermission of the 2008 Winter Classic.
The young journalist thought he was being funny, but the humour was lost on the tough guy.
Kennedy, a scoring centre on the Blazers, was laying in a bunk across from Costas in the team bus as this was unfolding.
“Goldie reached up and was going to hit him,” Kennedy explained Wednesday night. “I jumped up and I grabbed his arm.”
And his teammates quickly joined to separate the two.
“Jamie Kennedy, Claude Chartre and all the guys come in like a make-shift swat team and calmed me down and I let him go,” Goldthorpe said. “We’ve been friends ever since.”
Costas wrote a 1,200-word foreword for a new book on Goldthorpe’s life.