Propper’s Signature Mark
I played in the NHL for fifteen years starting with the Philadelphia Flyers in 1979-80. The year was 1986 when I decided that I wanted to show a little more personality and excitement after I scored goals. I wanted to try something different but wasn’t sure what it would be.
In the summer of 1986 I attended a Howie Mandel show with a friend at one of the New Jersey Casinos. Howie Mandel, the famous Canadian comedian, actor and television host – had a stand up show and he “Guffaw” was discovered. Howie asked the crowd if they would like to mess up the next comedian that came on stage, of course everyone said yes. He showed the crowd how to do the ‘Guffaw”. He did the “Guffaw” movement with his right arm. He started with a short left to right wave followed by extending his arm straight up to the ceiling. This was called the “Guffaw”. The crowd was supposed to do this to the next comedian rather than clap, whistle or cheer. That would definitely confuse the comedian.
I loved the “Guffaw” and every time I would meet my friend I would do the “Guffaw” instead of saying hello. It became a natural and funny greeting. I then decided I was going to do the”Guffaw” the following hockey season after every goal.
I’ll never forget my first goal at the start of the 1986-87 season. I was thinking about the “Guffaw” and finally scored my first of the year. I had the usual crowd of players congratulating me after the goal, then as I broke away from the pack and headed to center ice, I put my right glove under my left arm and did the “Guffaw” as I skated toward center ice. I have always said the word “guffaw” as I was doing it. I had finally done the “Guffaw” and it became my signature mark after scoring which showed my personality on the ice.
I have continued to do the “Guffaw” with the Flyers Alumni and outside of hockey I will do the “Guffaw” when I get birdies or eagles on the golf course. I’m not sure what I’ll do when I get my first hole in one but I’m sure the “Guffaw” will have something to do with it.
I have been very proud of my signature mark and it is a lot of fun to watch young children at the hockey rinks and other places copying the”Guffaw”.
Howie Mandel heard about the “Guffaw” at the end of the 1986-87 hockey season and I got a call from him in the Flyers dressing room before a playoff game against the Rangers. I thought Turk, the equipment manager, was playing a joke, but sure enough, it was Howie Mandel on the line. He thought it was great that I was using the “Guffaw” and he didn’t mind if I used it. That was a thrill for me to get his approval. Since that phone call, I have been to Howie’s show in Atlantic City a number of times and had a chance to visit with him after the show. We get a good laugh about the “Guffaw” and I’m sure we will for many years to come.