Homecoming means Fox, fans, fun

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A. Sue Weisler

Student Government representatives fired questions at award-winning actor and best-selling author Michael J. Fox. What was your favorite role? Did you play the guitar in Back to the Future? What is it like to write a book?

But the students became most excited when Fox, who as a child dreamed of a career in the National Hockey League, was asked if he had a favorite college hockey team.“Well, this one,” he said to applause and laughter.

As the Horton Distinguished Speaker, Fox was a highlight of this year’s Brick City Homecoming & Family Weekend, which again was an event for the record books. Weekend attendance was 19,396, an increase of more than 1,600 from last year.

Fox’s talk followed a sold-out performance by comedian Kevin Hart and warmed up the crowd before the nail-biting hockey game at the Blue Cross Arena in downtown Rochester. The Tigers beat St. Lawrence University 6-5 in overtime before an orange-clad crowd of 10,556.

The game sold out 54 hours before faceoff.

Fox spoke to another sold-out audience of 4,800 at the Gordon Field House about his acting career and Parkinson’s disease. He touched on the same issues with about two dozen Student Government leaders during a special gathering earlier in the day.

His advice to filmmakers: “Make films. Really love it, really live it. Don’t just think of it as something you do but something you are.”

His favorite hockey team: the Boston Bruins. His favorite roles: Alex P. Keaton in Family Ties and Marty McFly in Back to the Future. He finger-synced the guitar in Back to the Future and “writing a book is like having homework that never gets done.”

Did he keep anything from Back to the Future? “I was such a fool. I thought the movie would be terrible so I didn’t save anything,” he said. “But I think I have some stuff from Teen Wolf.”