Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Nashville Dixie Flyers


  When I was a teenager Nashville had a minor league hockey team called the Nashville Dixie Flyers. My Aunt Didi, who raised me after my parents died, became a big fan and I started going to the games with her and her boyfriend Allen Smith. If you were a kid his nickname was "Gigs". If you were an adult his nickname was "Frog". Don't ask me why. The Flyers played at Nashville's Municipal Auditorium and they were a rough and tumble team. They reminded me of the team portrayed in the movie "Slap Shot" with Paul Newman. As I remember they were a good team and were close to the top in league standings most years. They were really tough men because they didn't wear helmets and it was a code of honor for them. From a distance they looked pretty normal but up close they were very scarred with noses that had been broken far too many times. You were lucky if you found a full set of teeth between them.

  One of their biggest rivals were the Long Island Ducks. When they came to town you knew there was going to be plenty of fights. This was because our players were usually mistreated by the Long Island  fans when they were up there. They would throw things things at our players. I will never forget the night that the Ducks and Flyers were playing. Long Island lost a very close game to Nashville. As the Duck players were walking off the ice a fan threw a wadded up paper cup and hit one of them in the head. He reared back and threw his stick into the crowd hitting a woman in the head. We headed for the exits as fans and players began slugging it out on the ice. I believe this was in April 1967. Gigs had a police scanner in his car and there was a race riot going on at TSU. I think every cop in Nashville was either at the Municipal Auditorium or in North Nashville.

Where the Dixie Flyers played in the Municipal Auditorium

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