For Saints sake!

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 2:05 PM ET

The long wait for Don and Bill Hobbins will probably end tomorrow morning.

Former teammates of Mark Messier's on the 1977-78 St. Albert Saints, the Hobbins brothers have waited almost 25 years to be reunited with the hockey superstar.

If everything goes according to plan, though, Don and Bill will be part of the ceremony tomorrow morning when Messier receives the key to the City of St. Albert.

But Don just hopes Messier doesn't put him in a headlock and ask for another "shot at the title."

"We used to practise at the old Edmonton Gardens and at the end of practice we would have an extra half an hour of ice time," remembered Don. "When guys would usually shoot the puck around, Mark would come over and just jump you from behind - and say: 'I want a shot at the title.'

"And then we would wrestle for as long as you could handle it. He'd keep going until the Zamboni kicked him off if you didn't quit.

"I am wondering if he might remember that (on Tuesday). He could put me in a headlock and ask me for another title shot. I saw him on TV the other night - and the guy is still huge."

All jokes aside, Don is looking forward to seeing his old linemate - the one they called The Big Gunner.

"We called him the Big Gunner back in the day. That was the nickname we had given him on our line because he was a big guy and a good goal scorer," remarked Don.

Playing left wing, Messier was just 16 years old starting the 1977 season. Darrel Morrow was on the other side with Don in the middle.

Now he comes home 29 years later as a hockey legend. Life is drastically different for the Hobbins' families. Don is a plumber. Bill is a pipefitter.

But they will forever share a bond with the Saints.


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