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Special dinner for sports legends



Legends
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Local Sports Legends were given an early look at the museum-esque pub that Jack Piattoni put together: (from left) Stan Judge, Bob Savage, Mark Tilton, Poof Tardiff, Claude St. Onge, Alf Halvarson (standing in for his father Brett), Patty Hood, Frank Roy, Rod Blackburn, Barney Laroche, Tony Urban, Ed Drew, Dan Brigham and Denny Jenso. Jonathan Benton. (click for larger version)
December 01, 2010
GORHAM — Before the official opening of Thanksgivings Restaurant and Ledgends Pub, manager Jack Piattoni invited the local sports legends that his establishment showcases and their families for a first look and meal.

"I think it's a really good tribute," said Gorham Husky Jonathan Chabot.

The nameplates were shining and the bar was shellacked with pictures and info on the area sports community ranging from baseball to kickboxing.

"It's great, we don't really have a gathering place in the community," said sports legend Mark Tilton. "It's not just a pub."

"I think this is wonderful," said baseball legend Bob Savage. "I'm turning 89 in eight days and this is making it so good."

Owner of the restaurant building, Don King, took his time inspecting a special booth made up of chairlift seats and a picture of the Nansen Ski Jump, the largest jump of it's kind. The table between the benches exhibited the exploits of ski legends Brook Dodge and Stan Judge. "It's a good fit for the community," said King.

A large scoreboard in the style of Boston's Fenway Park adorns the wall in the bar complete with number tags and lights. According to Piatoni each night people can put their names in to be selected as the designated score board keeper and keep the board updated with the game on the television so the whole restaurant can stay up to date.

The Nov. 17 event was a big surprise to the 94-year-old hockey legend Barney Laroche who met with friends that he hadn't seen in 30 or 40 years. Laroche started with the Berlin Maroons in 1935 and his original hockey sticks were on display. Also a coach of Notre Dame Hockey Laroche's team went undefeated for 15 straight years. "If there was ice, I was there," he said.

Near the end of the banquet Piattoni gave a speech professing the inspiration for the pub theme to come from the late sports writer Mike Gaydo who was renowned for recognizing local athletics. In his honor Piattoni has started the Gaydo Mug Club that will give patrons an extra four ounces of beer and raises donations to be given to Berlin and Gorham High Schools. Each mug is $15, but the number one mug was highly coveted by the mass of competitive sports aficionados and the first mug went to Claude St. Onge for $100.

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