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Username Post: Fotiu Frenzy - Fotiu Story From WHA Program + Jodzio Fight Info        (Topic#538383)
the hammer
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01-20-13 12:06 AM - Post#1500373    



Just picked up this wonderful New England Whalers program with Nick on the cover. I was hoping it would have a story about him inside and it sure did including info on his fights with Rick Jodzio.
I'll include the photos inside:

Fotiu Frenzy
by Bob Neumeier

Until Nicholas Fotiu and the New England Whalers entered and signed him into the city of hartford, the only items this area could identify with were an insurance policy, a list of the Dow Jones Averages and a quiet Saturday night(or Friday for that matter). In a society where hero worship is as common as a Hogan's Heroes rerun, this metropolitan area's idolatry could only be restricted to sports or entertainment by way of the elctronic media - television and radio. Persoanl contact simply did not exist. But this has all been changed.

Nick Fotiu is now THE hero of Hartford. The funny thing is as popular as Big Nick is in these parts, he's just as unpopular in outposts like Edmonton, Quebec, Cleveland, Houston and especially Vancouver. But that's the way it is with a hockey badman. The love-hate relationship, the belle of the ball at home and the wicked witch of the west on the road. A hero here, a bum there.

On the ice Nick Fotiu is as subtle as a punch in the mouth and just as effective. In fact much of the Fotiu game is a punch in the mouth to an opponent who dared cross paths with the native Staten Island, NY or who tried punishing one of Nick's smaller teammates. Fotiu is a loveable Teddy-bear with a thick Gotham City accent. He treats his hords of fans with smiles, handshakes and autographs, remembering his days as on the other end of the track at Madison Square Garden idolizing the Bathgates, the Ratelles, the Giacomins. Now he is center stage starring in the Broadway musical after a few years of understudy status. And he loves each and every minute of it.

His ability with his fists in unmatched in hockey. The list of victims reads like a WWI honor roll: Michel Rouleau, Pierre Guite, Jim McCrimmon, Dan Larway, Bud Gulka, Bryon Baltimore, Danny Lawton, Al McLeod and John Hughes have all been on the receiving end of the wrath of Fotiu and all have received the same fate-severe punishment. Except one

In January the Vancouver Blazers called on a young winger named Rick Jodzio to provide a spark and end a string of unsavory losses. Son of Canadian boxing great Bob Jodazio, the younger Jodzio won the Western Canada Golden Gloves at age 13 under the tutelage of his father. Upon breaking into the lineup, Jodzio scored quick KO's over Ralph Hopiavouri, Marc Tardif and Wayne Hillman and the Vancouver publicity pumpers were trying to convince people that Jodzio was the best in the business at throwing punches.

So a Fotiu-Jodzio matchup was as certain as a rainy day in Seattle. Their first confrontation took place in Vancouver on the tail end of a wild bench-clearing brawl brouhaha. Jodzio clipped New England star Tom Webster in an obvious effort to lure the high scoring right wing into the penalty box, a Vancouver advantage to be sure. Webster gave Jodzio all he could handle in the fight and both went to the box for 5 minutes. This infuriated Coach Ron Ryan and Fotiu and Nick set sail for Webster's opposite number on the Blazers Danny Lawton.

Before Nick coud reach Lawson he blasted 4 other Blazers including a double hit at the blue line felling a pair of Vancouvers like giant Sequoias. Then Nick found Lawson in the corner and destroyed him. Skating to the box, Nick made his first mistake of the year. While skating on ice(with Jodzio on solid footing, a disadvantage for Nick), Fotiu tried to catch Jodzio with a quick right but instead got hammered and knocked to the ice himself. Nick was cruched, his only solace a return engagement against the Blazers the following afternoon.

After a sleepless night, Fotiu did not wait long for revenge. On the very first shift he collided with Jodzio and wrestled him the the ice, winning a clear-cut decision and evening the Graziano-Zale like series at one bout apiece. Then in a later match at the Hartford Civic Center, Fotiu again gained the pugilistic advantage over Jodzio keeping his record intact.











Edited by the hammer on 01-20-13 12:22 AM. Reason for edit: No reason given.
 
fiasco001
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01-20-13 01:46 AM - Post#1500395    


    In response to the hammer

Great stuff.


 
Brawler
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01-21-13 09:11 AM - Post#1500987    


    In response to fiasco001

Nice..
"Yeah I Did Beat Up a Girl Goalie,And I'm Damn Proud Of It"....Brawler....1982




http://www.oldtimesports.net/users/Brawler/index.asp


 
Durbano
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01-21-13 11:48 AM - Post#1501058    


    In response to the hammer

Good stuff. I wish there were more details on that Jodzio-Fotiu incident -- it very rarely gets mentioned and that's probably the most comprehensive article I've seen on it. There has got to be another article somewhere -- perhaps a game description. I would think the Vancouver papers would have something. The Jodzio-Fotiu incident was one of those watershed brawls in WHA history but no one really seems to give it much of a thought. That's probably because when anyone thinks of Jodzio, they immediately think of Tardif & that's it. But Jodzio in his rookie year of '74-75 really established himself as an enforcer. He might have only been 19 or 20 but came in & was cleaning up the WHA before he ran into Nick. When I talked to Fotiu after a Kings game back in the early 1980's (at the old Forum Club....anyone remember that place?), he said that he remembers the Jodzio thing as a "pretty big deal" back then & if you just look back, you can see what he meant.

First, it was '74-75, the season after the Flyers won the Cup on toughness. The league & the game was all about intimidation, toughness, brawling back then so that was a huge issue at the time.

But the similiarities were pretty amazing

1) They were both enforcers on their respective teams

2) They were both rookies on their respective teams

3) They both had reputations and both were undefeated (this was according to Nick -- obviously no video exists but I think its safe to say Jodzio or Nick had not taken a beating from anyone). Anyways, if you stop right there, that's pretty amazing. Granted the WHA wasn't filled with great fighters during that season but that's not Fotiu & Jodzio's fault. It still is pretty impressive that two young rookies on opposite ends of the coast were undefeated half way through the season

3) They were both former boxers -- and champions no less

The biggest difference between the 2 -- Nick didn't say this but history bears this out -- was that Jodzio was more of a goon as evidenced by going after Tom Webster to get things going. One cannot help but wonder whether Jodzio did this as a means to put a red cape in front of the bull. Or whether Nick tried to get him to fight earlier in the game. With Jodzio, there were other points in his career where he simply teed off out of the blue on unsuspecting non-fighters (obviously the Tardif incident gets all the press).

It was Nick himself who said that the incident cleared the benches. I recall hitting the library and trying to look that brawl up but found nothing in the Southern California papers (no surprise).

I always wondered what actually caused the benches to clear -- after Fotiu pummeled Lawson or when Nick tried to get to Jodzio in the penalty box. The "at the tail end" comment in this article would seem to indicate that the benches had cleared well before the Jodzio-Fotiu punch. And those were the days when the WHA gave a double minor-misconduct (not game misconduct....a misconduct) for first off the bench. Fred O'Donnell of the Whalers picked up those penalties which would incidcate that he was tagged first off the bench. Nick did mention that he went absolutely ballistic when he got popped and rag-dolled the linesman trying to get back at Jodzio. Fotiu picked up 27 PIM's (minor-major-misconduct-g ame misconduct) & was suspended a game 3 weeks later because of it so it must have been pretty bad. You had to do a lot to get 27 minutes back then. Jodzio picked up 20 minutes also was suspended a game so one wouldn't think he just punched Fotiu and let it end right there. Seems like he was trying to get at Fotiu as well.

Regardless, the same teams played the next night & similar I suppose to Probert-Domi, both coaches put the kids out early & they fought within the first minute of the game.

Whenever anyone things of the obsolete brawls that don't get much attention but were big moments, this has to be right up there. I'd probably put it right after the Flyers-Blues '73 exihibition brawl as one of the brawls I'd most like to see.

Separately, anyone know who Fotiu is fighting in that picture? Looks like the Nordiques uniforms -- also looks like #2 is close to jumping in.
Durbano




Edited by Durbano on 01-21-13 12:17 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.
 
the hammer
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01-21-13 01:54 PM - Post#1501106    


    In response to Durbano

Durbano, I did a search and figured out it's Bud Gulka of Vancouver in the photo. He only played 5 games in the WHA and fought Fotiu on his very first shift! On his second shift he walked around Rick Ley and scored a goal.
 
the hammer
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01-21-13 01:55 PM - Post#1501108    


    In response to the hammer

Number 2 is Duane Rupp.
 
Clutch
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01-21-13 02:08 PM - Post#1501115    


    In response to the hammer

February 8, 1975 New England @ Vancouver

Tom Webster (NE) vs. Rick Jodzio (VAN)

Jodzio pretty much beat up Webster. In retaliation, Fotiu ran everybody on the ice. He received two minutes for roughing. On his way to the penalty box, he threw a punch at Jodzio who was still in his penalty box. Jodzio, on solid footing, TKO'd Fotiu.

"I shouldn't have done it. He was on solid footing and I was on the ice. I've never been knocked down before and I woke up three times last night thinking about it. But he's at a disadvantage now because he knows I'm going to go after him next time."

They both received game misconducts. Jodzio had left the ice but Fotiu lost his cool and started throwing punches. Jodzio charged back out onto the ice and the benches cleared.

There is an article in the Hartford Courant, "Big Nick Spends Sleepless Night" on February 10, 1975 where Fotiu talks about being so disappointed about being TKO'd. I think I took the above quote from that article because I used to have it.
I drank enough whiskey to float a battleship around


 
fiasco001
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01-21-13 03:37 PM - Post#1501144    


    In response to Clutch

Damn solid work guys. It's stuff like this, that makes me realize just why I love this site. I would love to see these scraps, too bad they don't exist. This is what we would look at as our folklore and legends. Awesome stuff.


 
Durbano
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01-21-13 07:00 PM - Post#1501228    


    In response to Clutch

Thanks -- good stuff. I never knew about Jodzio racing back onto the ice so that most likely explains his one-game suspension and also why Fred O'Donnell of New England was first off the bench. That said, it sort of contradicts the original article which stated the Jodzio-Fotiu set-to occurred at the "tail end of" the brawl.
Durbano


 
Randy Holt
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01-24-13 08:41 PM - Post#1502521    


    In response to Durbano

I used to drive up to Hartford for games during the last few years of the league but unfortunately they never really loaded up on the goons like a lot of the other teams did. Even in 1977-78 when the Bulls loaded up and many other teams followed, the Whalers weren't one of them.
 
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