by Rob Tannenbaum
PHILADELPHIA—They wanted Doug Favell back in the Spectrum. They wanted him any way they could get him.
Make him a street cleaner. They’d have been happy. Make him a popcorn vendor. They’d have been happy. Make him a goalie. They’d have been happiest.
They brought Doug Favell back to the Spectrum Tuesday night. They took away his skates. They took away his mask. They traded his cumbersome flat stick for one with leather strap webbing on the end.
It didn’t matter. They were still happy to have Favell where they think he belongs. On the Spectrum floor.
Favell, the goalie who was traded away for Bernie Parent, was home again before 11,251 screaming admirers. When his team, the Wings, made their first appearance on the floor, Favell was nowhere in sight.
After about a minute of warmups, No. 30 trotted on. The place went wild.
“It was fantastic,” said Favell. “I didn’t believe it. The fans are the greatest here, but I always knew that. I certainly didn’t deserve what they gave me.”
The standing ovation was the first of many Favell was to receive. The crowd watched every move he made. Any time he moved to climb over the boards onto the floor, they were prepared to cheer. “Doug-ie, Doug-ie,” they called.
With 11:27 left in the first period, Favell got into the game. They roared. At 9:45 he took an acrobatic dive for a loose high-bounding ball. They roared. At 9:37, he scored his first Wings goal. Again, they roared.
“I’m not really in shape yet,” said Favell, who made brief appearances throughout the game.
Late in the second period, Favell snuck behind the Montreal Quebecois defense, but botched the breakaway when he muffed the pass. He ran back on defense stomping the green floor.
“I’ve been out of the game for years,” Favell said, “and it’s not like I’m making my comeback in the minor leagues. These guys are professionals. They’re probably the top players in the world.”
But Favell didn’t look out of place to anyone. In fact, the Wings are convinced he’ll be on[e of] the league’s standouts once he’s back in shape.
“But there’s been such a transition in the game,” Favell said. “They play a deliberate pattern style. When I was playing four years ago it was all ad lib. You got the ball and did your thing.
“This thing is all serious play. I can really feel the pressure out there. It’s gotten so I’m afraid to make a bad pass and give the ball away. After all, this is a big thing for the guys in this league. I don’t want to let them down.”
Philadelphia knows Favell won’t. He hasn’t in the past. When the Parent trade was announced about a year ago, it was even less [popular] than the Russian grain deal. The fans moaned and complained that Favell was going.
Now Philadelphia can have its cake and eat it.
“I wouldn’t have come back into box lacrosse if Philadelphia didn’t select me,” said Favell. “I love the game and I’m happy to be back in it. But I also enjoy just coming back and playing here and seeing my old friends and playing golf with them.”
And Philadelphia is happy, too. Just to have Doug Favell back in the Spectrum. Any way it can.
(Camden Courier-Post, June 19, 1974)