Killingworth Guppies Retire Blair's #16


July 2, 2009,

KILLINGWORTH, CT-- When Guppie fans are asked what they remember most about Brian Blair you get a lot of different answers. Everything from his rainbow painted skates, to his famous temper tantrums/stick throwing incidents, to the selling of his hockey gloves to purchase a tank of gas (he played the remainder of his career with gardening gloves). Those comments where heard more than once but there were other comments too.

A lot of old time Guppies fans remember Brian Blair as the Guppies original "offensive" defenseman. Especially in the 1995 season when he and fellow Guppie's Hall of Famer John Carroll were the Guppies top two defenseman. Blair also won two Waterbury Roller Hockey Championships with the Guppies (1996 and 1998). His style of play was an all out assault, take no prisoners type style that not only struck fear in his opponents but his teammates as well. One unidentified fan stated Blair was his favorite player because "He sold out every game. He'd do anything to win!".

When asked to comment on their favorite memories about Blair's playing days several current and former players weren't shy.

Kyle Bilafer (1995 &1997) said this about his former teammate "I am going to have to go for his famous slap shots on ice except instead of shooting at the boards Blair would slap shot into center ice ....where he hit me ...hard....twice. That and the cycling shorts are my fondest memories."

Hall of Famer Peter Fink (1995-1998) added " I agree with Kyle, Blair didn't care who was behind the net during warm-ups. Either he thought his shot was a lot more accurate than it was or he just didn't Give a F---and let it rip.  The only consistency his shot had was it was fast and head height every time"

Former forward Steve Fink (1995 & 1997)also commented upon hearing the news of Killingworth retiring Blair's jersey " Why on gods green earth would I contribute to that when #67 hasn't even been retired yet?"  This reporter believes Fink might still be bitter because of a few nights when Blair left him stranded at a certain New Britain bar.

Current players like Brian Kelly and Rob Murphy shared their thoughts on Blair playing days.  "He was intense! If you don't believe me ask the plastic net I saw him beat the snot out of during a practice in Clinton (home of the Guppies training center). Seriously, you were always happy when Brian was on your team, it increased your chance of not having an injury by the end of the day." Rob Murphy: "He just got in a zone during games and there was no off button".  I also remember him losing part of his front tooth during a game back in 1998" Murphy added

#16

Brian officially retired from the Guppies in 2002. He was originally part of the team when they left Waterbury and moved to the Zrink. However, after the first three games were played and Blair still hadn't shown he called management and retired. Blair was part of the 2001 Guppies but missed every single game, except one, which the other team forfeited. This earned Blair another honor: "The Brian Blair Award"! Which is awarded to a player that pays for the season then misses the most games.

Off the dek Blair was a team player as well. He was part of the original core of players that help create the Killingworth Guppies in the early part of 1995. He was also one half of a tandem (Greg Bousquet being the other) that landed the Guppies first team sponsor: Sun Set Bay. A sponsorship that earned the team new jerseys, wheels, and a larger sponsorship with Easton Hockey back in 1995.

Blair was unreachable at the time this story was being written. He was last known to be living in semi seclusion in the woods of Killingworth. However, it's fitting that Blair doesn't comment on his jersey being retired. During his playing days Blair never spoke to the press, he let his game do all the Talking!  So, Brian where ever you are....Guppie's Nation says thank you for your years of service!

Click here: To see Brian's #16 Hanging in the Hall of Fame


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press