Nearly every night in winter, N.Y. fan makes rinks his home

January 14, 1992|By James H. Jackson

You call yourself a hockey fan? How does 200 games a year in collegiate, NHL, AHL, IHL and ECHL grab you?

Donald "Fuzzy" Cohen, a native of New York City, sees six or seven hockey games a week, and when the hockey season is over, he watches more than 200 major-league baseball games a year.

Look up into the top row of the Baltimore Arena at just about any Skipjacks game and you'll see a man with a flowing beard. That's Cohen.

"I watch at least 30 Skipjacks games and 15 Orioles games a year," said Cohen. "I've been to every NHL rink but three, and I've been to every park in the major leagues."

Why? "Because I love sports, and my favorite sports are hockey and baseball," he said.

This season he has seen 96 hockey games in 23 rinks -- Madison Square Garden in New York, the Spectrum in Philadelphia, the Boston Garden, Hartford Civic Center and the Nassau (N.Y.) Coliseum in addition to games in the Baltimore Arena, Hersheypark Arena and Norfolk Scope, to mention a few.

"I see every Rangers home game, 30 games a year at the Spectrum and 10 at the Boston Garden," said Cohen, who has been doing this for 30 years. "I've been to AHL rinks in Springfield, New Haven, Capital District, Utica, Adirondack and Binghamton and to a lot of college rinks."

The only NHL rinks he hasn't been to are San Jose, Edmonton and Calgary. "I got as far as Winnipeg and then I decided it was too cold and got out of Canada," he said.

"The best NHL rinks to watch a hockey game in are Chicago Stadium, in spite of the noise, Minnesota, Vancouver and Boston Garden before they messed it up with those sky boxes. The best in the AHL are Adirondack and Hershey, and the worst place to watch a hockey game is this place here, the Baltimore Arena."

The amazing thing about his seeing so many sports events is that Cohen does not own a car. He gets where he's going on the bus or by getting rides from the many friends -- referees, linesmen, umpires and scouts -- he's made in his travels.

Cohen used to work for the U.S. Customs Service, but now he lives at his parents' home and works "two or three days a week part time, but my real vocation is watching sports events."

Milestones: Washington's Dino Ciccarelli got his 400th NHL career assist in Sunday's loss to Chicago Blackhawks. The Buffalo Sabres' Pat LaFontaine scored his 300th NHL goal. The Los Angeles Kings' Wayne Gretzky got his 2,200th point in Friday's loss to the Capitals.

Overtime: The Sharks have won 10 games, surpassing the Capitals' eight wins in their first season in the NHL. New Haven, an independent AHL team, won its 18th game, surpassing the Baltimore Skipjacks' 13 wins in their independent season.

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