She is only Jewish mother who can brag - you'll pardon the expression - about "my son, the National Hockey League goalie."

Fay Wolfe, the mother of Washington Capitals goalie Bernie Wolfe, prefers to dote on her eldest son's far less publicized achievements - his degree in finance from Sir George Williams University, his marriage to Patsy, and best of all, the recent birth of Amanda, Mrs. Wolfe's first grandchild.

"He's such a good boy," she beams over long distance wires from her winter home in Fort Lauderdale. "You know, Butch calls three, sometimes four times a week."


"Yes," says Mrs. Wolfe, "we've called him that since he was born. He was named after my brother, who died before Bernie was born. I couldn't bear to say Bernie, so it was Butch from the start."

And what about his hockey business? She is asked.

"Of course I would have preferred him to be a doctor, or some kind of professional man," she says. "But if Bernie is happy, then we're happy."

Fay Wolfe was never all that thrilled about her son's choice of sports, especially that night he came home from a college game and it took 16 stitches to close a nasty gash above his eye.

"It looked worse than it actually was," Bernie Wolfe recalled the other day. "But al she kept saying was "What do you need this for, do you really need this aggravation?"

"It was the same reaction when I cut my hand in my father's grocery. I came home and she said that settles it, you're going to camp.

"But my mother never told me I couldn't play. My father started me out. He played goal for the Canadian Army team, and he always encouraged me. I'd be playing outside, 10 and 20 degrees below zero, and my father would come out and watch."

His father, Mickey, took young Bernie skating at age 4. At 6, Wolfe played wing on a team coached by his father and scored a record nine goals in one game. One day, the regular goalie became sick, and Bernie headed for the nets.

He has been a goalie since, and now is the only Jewish player in the National Hockey League. Asked about that, Wolfe says, almost brusquely, "I don't consider myself a Jewish hockey player. I consider myself a hockey player in the NHL."

To Fay Wolfe, he is a constant delight, a young man who has given his mother and father much "nachas" the yiddish term describing the great joy children provide parents.

Mrs. Wolfe has seen her son play only "three or four games" with the Capitals, and she does not really enjoy watching him in action. "But when they start yelling 'Bernie, Bernie,' oh, what a wonderful thrll that is," she says.

"But it's nerve-wracking for any mother to look at the game if your child is playing. I get very nervous. And when I see somebody go into him, I get very angry.

"Even when he was playing in college, I didn't go very much. I really don't think he wanted me to be there. I guess he didn't want to worry about me being worried, so I usually stayed home.

"His father always went. And he's got an uncle, his Uncle's Harry, who's probably his biggest fan. He was in the hospital a couple of weeks ago, but the Capitals were playing in Montreal, and he insisted on being released so Bernie could come to his house and visit and have a nice meal."

Mrs. Wolfe is the first to admit she knows what a shutout is and a goals againt average is, said Bernie Wolfe. "She knows the object of the game, but she wouldn't be able to tell you what icing means, or offsides.

"She knows I'm not supposed to let the puck get past me. My father cares how I play. My mother is happy as long as I don't get hurt."

The Wolfe's keeps up with their son's progress through the newspapers. While they're in Florida, their youngest son Steven, a 22-year-old engineer, sends clippings from the Montreal papers. And Bernie is often calling home.

"I just want Bernie to be happy," Fay Wolfe says. "The Hockey is wonderful. But the fact he has his degree was very important to us. He's doing well now but nobody knows what it's going to be when hockey is over. But I don't worry about Bernie too much anymore.

"He's a big boy now, he's a wonderful son."

Her son, the goalie.