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Jack Falla is a legend in the Yahoo group "BackyardRink" for his 25 years of rink building as well as his advice and comments to the group during the season and off-season. Jack has been a great inspiration to many in journalism and the backyard rink builing areas. The passion he shows for his writing and his favorite sport is amazing at times. He wrote into the Yahoo group the following story during the off-season that I think gives you a glimps of the man.

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I was set to open the back door when I saw him through the window. He was a small probably immature mouse up on a table nibbling the leaves of a potted ivy plant. I didn't think mice ate plants. A veteran mouse would've been working along the baseboards and the walls. This had to be a rookie mouse working right out there in the open, far from the walls. I named him Joe Thornton.

I did not go into the house through the backdoor. Instead I looked to my left where two hockey sticks still remained (the rest having been put down cellar at the end of skating season). My choice was either a Jr-size straight-bladed Hespeler that my granddaughter uses as a combination mallet and war club. Or my old Titan TPM2020 with a tapeless and chipped blade. I'd been planning to saw off the blade and use the shaft to support a tomato cage when the cage began to tilt. But now I had other plans. I headed around the house to the front door so as not to disturb Joe Thornton.

I walked through the living room, dining room and into the kitchen where the mouse was still on the little table frolicking amidst the ivy leaves cascading down out of a hand-made, hand-painted flower pot. My plan was to use the toe of the stick to flip the mouse against the nearby refrigerator. I approached the table holding the stick out in front of me, blade pointed down (think Tim "Dr. Hook" McCraken in Slapshot). The mouse was oblivious to my presence. I swung hard. A one-timer. But what I hit was not the mouse but the unseen wide base plate of the flower pot, a plate apparently used to hold water but obscured from my viw by the plant's foliage. The potted ivy went sailing toward the refrigerator where it fairly exploded in a shower of potting soil, leaves and broken shards of pottery. The mouse got away. Almost. He headed for the baseboard under an overhang near the sink. That's where I Todd Bertuzzi-ed him. No style points for that. Although I scooped his body onto my stick blade and deposited it in the waste basket not unlike a player scooping up a puck to give to a linesman.

The mess from the broken flower pot was so extensive that I needed to use a snow shovel in lieu of a dustpan to pick up most of the dirt, etc. I had the vaccuum out and was finishing the job when my wife Barbara arived home to see the top of her favorite indoor plant sticking up out of the waste basket that also contained the remnants of her favorite flower pot. I told her what happed. "Un-freaking- believable. " was all she said.

We caught Joe Thornton's two siblings and one parent (we think it was a single-parent family) in glue traps (might've been Jacques Lemaire autograph models, not sure). We have not had any mice in a month. Word gets around.

Ahh, the off season...

Jack Falla


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Jack passed away September 14, 2008. Our prayers go out to his friends and family. RIP Jack!

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