“Gooood morning there, Stucc!”
“You do a great job, boy, I’ll tell you!”
“Hey, Stucc, you know, I don’t know how you say all those players as fast as you do!”
Bob Arehart would belt out one of these three lines every time I saw him… loudly, clearly, and proudly…usually in “his” room (a storage/snack/cubby hole), on the bench, or in the hall on his way to said room.
I just found out today that the Hershey Bears have lost this great, great friend on Tuesday of this week. I have no idea how the news didn’t reach my ears until today – I certainly would have said something on the air during Wednesday’s broadcast – but now I wanted to write just a little something to honor a truly wonderful human being who I only knew for close to five of the 20 that he spent with the team he loved.
Whether it was handing out a piece of gum from the bench… or putting out a fresh water bottle… or even hanging a sign to remind players to autograph something for charity, Bob was there with a smile. When season ticket holders came to watch a morning practice, he would even hand a practice puck out once in a while to one of the youngsters that might be there.
I gave Bob a shout-out last Friday night when we were in Syracuse. Bob’s long-time friend Rick Nowlen – who is a good friend of mine as well and who also helps out down in the locker room – had asked me to say something for Bob. I love sending out well-wishes on the air. I just never know when the right time might be, or if that person is actually there listening. I did it early in the second period, and I can only assume that Bob heard it and smiled.
Never wanting anything for the work that he did – which was voluntary – Bob occupied this one chair in that room across from Troy Mann’s office. He would sit and read the newspaper there. He also loved reading the game notes for that particular day, so I would always make an extra packet for him. I always joked with him, saying “so you’re the one who reads what I write!”. One day, he laughed and offered me a pack of string cheese. One of my favorite snacks was also one of his. He always had that bag up in the cabinet. That chair of his sits next to the cart that holds the bucket of pucks, cones, Gatorade bottles and towels. Behind the chair, Bob would X-out each day on the calendar and always would let me know that he would be listening when we hit the road.
Jokingly, this room is also called “Olie’s Office”. Capitals development coach Olie Kolzig sets up shop here whenever he comes to town.
I have a feeling that the guys will leave that space there, always reserved for Bob Arehart.
God bless, Bob. Thank you so much for all of your kind words. Rest in peace.