I thought my childhood died a long time ago, but it died all over again yesterday. Greg Polis, my favorite Penguins player when I was a boy, passed away after a brief battle with cancer. He was 67.

Polis, a left wing, was the Penguins’ first-round pick (seventh overall) in the 1970 NHL draft. He represented the Penguins three times in the NHL All-Star Game, winning the game’s MVP (and a car) in 1973 when he tallied two goals at New York’s Madison Square Garden. He was the first Penguin to score 30 goals, netting exactly that number in 1971-72.

I had a No. 22 jersey, a poster, a game-used stick, the whole fanboy schmear. (That’s OK when you’re a kid.) I posted signs at the Civic (later Mellon) Arena supporting Polis. That led to meeting Greg and his wife, Llewelyn. I reconnected with Greg in 2010 when he returned for the last regular-season game at Mellon Arena. That was such a treat for me. He was a good player and a good man.

He also played for St. Louis, the New York Rangers and Washington. But Polis always thought of himself as a Penguin.

Greg Polis, RIP.

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