Chuck Taylor #21 Shirt Retirement. This weekend, The Hexagon Telford Tigers will retire the famous #21 shirt of the man who set the club in motion almost 40 years ago – Chuck Taylor.
Chuck will be in attendance at the Tigers National League fixture on the 24th of October to allow fans to honour Telford Tigers legend #21 Chuck Taylor.
We spoke with former Tigers player and current Tigers Assistant Coach, Karl Creamer.
“I’ll never ever forget the very first season of the Telford Tigers. After a try-out, I was lucky enough to be asked to sign for the team in 1985. A massive part of the success, and fun we had as a team was down to Chuck Taylor. The atmosphere that Chuck installed in the room as a player and team mate was great. Whether that was the music, the jokes, or the banter (and of course the endless supply of Heineken beer after a win helped). Great times and very fond memories. Turn the clock forward, I have kept in touch with Chuck and I am looking forward to seeing him again at the rink. I’m honoured to have played on the same team as this guy.” Karl Creamer
Former Tigers player, Paul Thomason reminisces on his time spent with Chuck. “
We spoke to former Tigers player, Alan Gould.
“Going back about 10 years, I’m stood in the check out queue in Asda and I found myself thinking, this guy in front is massive. By massive, I mean tall and wide.. quite imposing. We must have stood for about two minutes when it was this guy’s turn to be served. He turned sideways and… hey, it’s Chuck Taylor! We’d not met since my retirement many years earlier but it was just like we’d come off the ice after a training session. We went into town, had a beer and a catch up, and I’ve not seen him since. The point I make here is how Chuck has a natural overwhelming ability to make anyone feel comfortable when you meet him. This is abundantly apparent when you play on his team. There is an indescribable aurora around the guy and all of a sudden, you’re full of self confidence to go and do your thing.
Although Chuck was never the coach, he instilled an ability in everyone to go out and get on with it, not to worry about which line you were on and not to worry about who you were lining up against, just go and be yourself. It’s something I took away with me from hockey when I retired and for that alone, I’d never be able to thank Chuck enough. I often talk and comment about the good old days, the good old days were created by Chuck. I firmly believe that once the team was established and new players came, their decision was made not to come and play for the Tigers but to come and play for Chuck Taylor. I’m disappointed not to be able to be present at your shirt retirement Chuck, no doubt, sometime, somewhere we’ll have another beer and talk about the last 20 years since Asda. Have a great evening. Gouldie.”
We also spoke to former Tigers Team Manager, Andy Plant who shared his time with Chuck whilst at Telford Tigers.
The Club also spoke to Roy Williams, Sports Reporter Shropshire Star about Chuck’s time at Telford Tigers.
“An online source tells us this: Chuck Taylor: Defense, shoots L, born February 2nd 1961, Saskatoon, height 6ft.01, weight 185lbs…. It also gives us Charlie’s stats for a playing career spanning around 20 years, the majority of that in the UK and the biggest part of that majority here in Telford. In cold hard figures, it was 285 league games, more than 350 goals and nearly 400 assists. Penalty minutes? Just the 816, but who’s counting. His on-ice contribution is measurable. Off-ice not so much. Charles Andrew Taylor was a one-man phenomenon.
Player, player-coach, managing director, marketing machine, the face, the voice, and the blueprint for the personality of the Telford Tigers from the time he first rocked up at a press conference at the Buckatree Hall Hotel in 1985. And who in the entire heaven and earth of Telford New Town had heard of anyone called Chuck anyway? If you’re going to launch a new sport in a new location, you’d better do it big, with big personalities to promote the big idea. Alongside Chuck were ATV sports presenter Gary Newbon, plus comedian and compère Dave Ismay, shrinking violets each. Not. Even the sponsor’s representative, Peter Sinclair, was a major physical presence. If Telford Tigers were the natural offspring of Bold and Brash, they were touched by Bravado and Charisma, all of which was embodied in Chuck Taylor.
The style didn’t suit everybody and Tigers would play on the ‘nobody loves us, but we don’t care’ mantra quite deliberately, sometimes cynically. It bordered on arrogance and it became part of the image, and part of the legacy. But, when you’re taking on all comers and you choose to answer the question ‘who the heck do you think you are?’ with a ready charm, a colourful vocabulary and a winning smile, you can get away with almost anything. And if you don’t recognise Chuck from that description, where were you in the late 1980s? He even had a white Ford Escort with his name on it. As a journalist, you love someone who gives great quotes, even if your sports editor is reluctant to use them because they don’t fit into the ‘we was robbed’ stereotype. Here’s a confession, Chuck is actually one of the three biggest influences on the way I write. The first was a teacher of English called Bryan Banks. The other is Dylan Thomas. Each dare you to be different. But neither Bryan nor Dylan, to the best of my knowledge, rolled out, without hint of embarrassment, a constant stream of ‘couldn’t hit a barn door with a banjo’, ‘he needs a check-up from the neck up’, or ‘put the biscuit in the basket’ quotes in a post match verdict on another messy night in Altrincham.
He was also a natural for radio, which loved his accent. I know to my cost, however, that trying to edit a Chuck Taylor interview into a two minute package was a bugger. The man never takes a breath. Just when you think he’d stopped, he would kick off again. It’s probably easier now with digital technology. Back in my day it was reel-to-reel tape and an actual splicing scalpel. Moan, moan, gripe, gripe. And that said, it surprised me that with his connections, Chuck never made a career in front of the camera when his hockey days came to an end. That or drumming for the Tragically Hip. He was, however, on screen the last time I saw him live, ‘floor managing’ a Wolves game for TV. I was so impressed I Facebooked him a screen grab of himself. A final thought. Why do you retire a hockey shirt? It’s probably because no-one could ever fill it in the way the one person who will always be associated with the number did. Charlie fits those parameters perfectly.
I know the Tigers have been looking to bestow this honour for a while, so it’s great they’ve finally managed to pin him down. Charlie Taylor, Tigers legend. And now the man who tells Cristiano Ronaldo when he can kick off. Remarkable.”