It takes a keen eye to see everything, to take in the pucks tucked in the corners, the citations hung from the sides of the display case, the framed photos stacked two and three deep. The trophies are crowded on each other, the letters sit overlapped with plaques and pictures, the glass awards and bowls and cups and keys and medals fill every inch of a space that cannot contain the legacy it tries to hold.
There is the puck from Brian Lawton's first NHL goal. There is a letter from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. There is the key to the city of Woonsocket. There is a jersey with the No. 696 on it, commemorating a national record for wins that has long since been smashed. Next to it is a jersey with No. 800 on it, just as obsolete.
It is dizzying, realizing what all this symbolizes, what all this means: This is a hockey life, these mementos of a hockey lifer, a man who still stands proudly behind the bench of Mount Saint Charles Academy, a private Catholic school of about 850 students from sixth to 12th grade, in this French-Canadian pocket of Rhode Island, even as he celebrated his 87th birthday in September.