John Candy was a sweet guy

Jerry Kuleba is a partner with and creative director of Toronto ad agency Kuleba & Shyllit.What's this got to do with advertising? Not that much, and it's a good thing, too.It's about John Candy. And how I was going to get...

Jerry Kuleba is a partner with and creative director of Toronto ad agency Kuleba & Shyllit.

What’s this got to do with advertising? Not that much, and it’s a good thing, too.

It’s about John Candy. And how I was going to get him into advertising. Let me start at the beginning.

When I was a kid, my dream was to play goal in the National Hockey League.

You’ve never heard of Jerry Kuleba, who played for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Or, of Jerry Kuleba, who won the Veniza trophy while playing for the Habs. So that should tell you what happened to my dream.

But I was Jerry Kuleba of the Toronto Royals in the Metro Toronto Hockey League. Thanks to John Candy.

You see, even though my nhl dream didn’t materialize, I still loved to play the game.

So, I set my sights on getting into an organized league in which I could play on a regular basis and have some fun.

The Metro Toronto Hockey League looked like a good bet. So, I enquired about getting on a team.

I don’t know how I happened to get the phone number of the guy running the Toronto Royals, but I did, and that guy turned out to be John Candy.

I tried out for the team and made it.

We weren’t the best team, but I really looked forward to our home games every Sunday night at North Toronto Arena.

John not only managed, he played, too.

He was not a quick player like Davey Keon. But he was smart. And kind of funny. Especially in the dressing room when he was trying to squeeze his way into a size 52 hockey pant.

I played for the Toronto Royals for one season.

One day during this time, John showed up at my dad’s shoe repair shop. (The shop was in the front. We lived in the back.) He came by to find out what size hockey jacket I wore. He stayed, and we talked a bit.

And this is where the advertising part comes in.

John was a budding actor at that time.

I told him I worked in advertising and I would try to get him into a tv commercial to help give his career a boost.

He didn’t need my help.

He became a big star.

I got married and had kids.

One day, my kids went to see the movie Uncle Buck starring John. They adored him.

‘Your dad once played hockey with `Uncle Buck,’ ‘ I told them.

‘Yeah, sure, dad,’ they said.

‘Really,’ I told them. ‘To prove it, one day I’ll have `Uncle Buck’ call our house and you can talk to him. Better still, I’ll have `Uncle Buck’ over for dinner.’

Uncle Buck won’t be phoning or coming to our home. Not now.

Goodbye, John. Sorry I couldn’t get you that break in advertising. Although it seems you didn’t need it.