MEMORIES OF 1980: Dave Langevin
by Chris Botta
Dave Langevin hasn't had the chance to hang with his Islanders career-long defense partner and good friend Stefan Persson since they were honored as members of the All-Islanders team during the 25th anniversary of the franchise. That's almost a decade ago, and a darn shame for reasons Langevin sums up nicely.
"With the exception of my wife Deb, Stefan Persson is the best partner I ever had," said Langevin.
"Bammer" will be on Long Island to join in the Celebration of the 1980 Islanders Stanley Cup team. This time, Langevin says he will be prepared when the bonds re-form at the team's private dinner and very public (16,000-plus strong) pre-game salute.
"It's a different world now," Langevin told us on Thursday night. "I'm bringing my business cards and getting everybody's email addresses, cell phone numbers, pagers, everything. I tell you what -- I can't wait to see Stef and the guys, and this time it's not going to be another eight years before we hang out again."
Spoken like a man who exemplified the Islanders' team concept. The 1979-80 season was Langevin's first with the Islanders. That was also the year the World Hockey Association merged with the NHL. Langevin had played the previous three seasons with the Edmonton Oilers, but as an Islanders sixth round pick in 1974, he signed with the team when Bill Torrey courted him in an attempt to fine-tune the blueline.
In his first day of camp he was paired with Persson and the duo stayed virtually intact for the next six seasons. However, Langevin's nickname came with him when he arrived on Long Island.
"In my first camp with Edmonton, 1976, it was a veteran team," said Langevin. "There were guys like Norm Ullman (a future Hall of Famer who was 40 at the time), Bill Flett, Glen Sather, Dave Dryden in goal -- I really felt like I had to do something to stand out. So in practices and scrimmages, I just threw my body around at everybody, didn't matter who you were. One day after practice, a teammate of mine named Gene Peacosh says to me, 'You know, you're just like Bam-Bam from The Flinstones.' A bunch of guys heard him, we had a laugh, and it has stuck ever since."
So now it can be told: Gene Peacosh, whose career as a center was split between five years in the WHA and four with the Johnstown Jets of the Eastern Hockey League, a man who played only 11 games that season for Edmonton before being acquired by Indianapolis, is the person responsible for one of the most beloved nicknames in the history of the Islanders.
When the fans shout "Bammer!" loud and proud on March 4, Langevin will be in the company of his two favorite partners -- Persson and Dave's wife Deb. Said Langevin, "If Deb wasn't able to make it, I don't know if I would have gone. She was there for me every step of the way on Long Island. That's a lot of joy and wonderful memories, but also a lot of aches and pains and some personal heartache. It's only right that she should be there with me on March 4."
The 1980 Stanley Cup celebration, presented by Modell's and Newsday, will begin at 7:00 pm, followed by the regular season matchup between the 2005-06 Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers. In addition to the 1980 team, the Stanley Cup will also be in attendance at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Islanders full season subscribers will receive an added treat. Season subscribers are invited to the Islanders' morning skate on March 4, followed by an introduction of the 1980 team, sneak preview of that night's ceremony, plus a meet-and-greet with the legends.
Tickets are still available for the March 4 game between the Islanders and Flyers, preceded by the celebration of the 1980 Stanley Cup team. Tickets are available at the Coliseum box office, TicketMaster or by contacting the Islanders at 1.800.882.ISLES.