There was a day when Al Hamilton wasn't exactly the greatest man in hockey.
Alberta Oilers coach Ray Kinasewich remembers those days. He was his coach.
“He came to camp with a poor attitude,” says Kinasewich. “He didn't show for the first practice so I had a little talk with him.”
“I told him to pack his equipment and go back to Flin Flon. He didn't believe me. When I called him a couple of days later he had thought about it and decided he was going to come to play. Showed up at the rink at 7:30 in the morning the next day if I remember.”
“Two weeks later he came up to me and thanked me for what I did. Ever since then we've had a great relationship.”
General manager Bill Hunter said: “I can't think of anybody better in our league at carrying the puck. Not only does he do that well, but we know he can score.”
Last year with Buffalo, Hamilton got four goals and 30 assists.
“The first year I played for Punch Imlach we got along,” said Hamilton. “I got 30 points and was on the power play. The next season we got into a contract hassle and he told me I wouldn't ever play on the power play. I didn't. But I was still the fourth highest scorer on the team.”
After signing with Edmonton, Seymour Knox, the Sabres millionaire owner, made an attempt to lure him back.
“I wasn't going back after the way Imlach treated us,” Hamilton said.