|His name was Peter Puck. He started his career in 1973 giving us information and entertainment between periods. He quickly became a national sensation. He was part teacher, part celebrity, part hockey puck. He always began the same way. "Howdy fans, Peter Puck here to lay some facts on you about hockey, the world's fastest team sport." NBC decided that they wanted to create an animated character to teach the fans about hockey. In 1973, they contacted Hanna-Barbera, who created a talking, skating, wisecracking hockey puck.
Each episode took place in the middle of a fast-paced, animated hockey game. Peter would skate up to the camera and describe the rules and concepts of hockey. He often used the players and officials in his hockey game to show how plays are set up, what hand signals are used when describing penalties, or how to tell an offside. Within months, kids could correctly cite the icing rules as easily as singing the national anthem.
A little-known fact about Peter Puck: his voice actually belonged to 'Monkey' Micky Dolenz. In one classic episode,
"The Story of the Stanley Cup," Peter described the championship chalice and some of the famous contests played for it. A companion episode discussed the sister trophies in the NHL (Hart, Vezina, Lady Byng, etc.). Even the players liked Peter. Dave Gardner, while with the Montreal Canadiens, read a mythical letter to Peter aloud on a plane flight. "Dear Peter," read Gardner, "how can I score goals while sitting on the bench." A few days later, Gardner was traded to St. Louis.
At the height of his popularity, Peter was getting letters from fans, pictures drawn by children and even marriage proposals. There were only 9 original episodes of Peter Puck, but Peter continued thrilling fans for years with his play-by-play calls of classic games and exciting moments from hockey history. The Peter Puck Fan Club that boasted thousands of members in the mid 1970's still exists today. As Peter would say "Love that hockey game!" "
- Glen Howie