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Memories ON ICE

Even in Florida, the land of heat and sun, there are many among us whose memories are filled with thrills on ice. Some have written in to share them on the day the Tampa Bay Lightning takes the ice for its first regular-season National Hockey League game. Tonight, at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, a new set of memories is about to unfold.

I grew up in Lowell, Mass., watching the Boston Bruins. I was a Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito fan, my favorite was Orr, who was the greatest hockey player I ever saw. He was the first defenseman to score over 100 points. He was the only player who could do it all.

The greatest game I ever saw was Sunday, May 10, 1970. I was 13. The Bruins were in the Stanley Cup finals and leading the series against the St. Louis Blues 3-0. The game was a thriller, tied 3-3 at the end of regulation.

As sudden death started, Orr was on the ice with the Derek Sanderson line. The period has just started and the Bruins had control of the puck when Sanderson went behind the net. As Orr came flying from right to left in front of the goal, Sanderson fed him the puck and he scored past Glen Hall 21 seconds into overtime, just before getting tripped up by Noel Picard.

It was Boston's first Stanley Cup in 29 years, and it touched off a celebration that lasted a week. Two days later they had this picture in the Record American of Boston, which is still considered the "Greatest Hockey Photo" ever.

Kevin Lord, St. Petersburg