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Hockey Night in Phoenix

Friday, Dec 22, 2006 from Phoenix, Arizona

Wait, what did I just say? Hockey night in Phoenix? It’s supposed to be Canada, not Phoenix. What am I doing going all this way to watch hockey in Phoenix, one of the hottest cities in the country. You mean they have an NHL team here? Ok, ok, so it’s a little weird for me to picture hockey in Phoenix, maybe that’s why, sadly, that the arena was so empty. Of course they are struggling to come up with some wins.

Anyways… a dream come true. An NHL game. It’s only my second one, I’d go to everyone along the way if I could afford it. Thankfully, Bill and I didn’t even have to pay for tickets, some guy just handed them to us, even the parking was free, we even got free Jeremy Roenick action figures, and the stadium was so empty we got great seats for free. However, there is some bad news, my perfect 6-0 record is no more. Until tonight the home team has won every game I’ve attended on the trip. But 6-1 is still a pretty good record. The Coyotes feel to the Oilers 3-2. But I’m not complaining about that, here’s why.

Back at MSU I had a fantastic study abroad professor, Darcy. She is more than a professor, she is a good friend, and the trip abroad was probably a huge influence on the idea of this trip. For Thanksgiving one year her and her husband gave me a ride home, eight hours all the way back to the UP, where she was going to watch her son play hockey. I tagged along to watch UND whoop up on MTU, no big surprise. Well, last year her son Matt (who is my age, just a few months younger) was a rookie in the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers. As a rookie he went all the way to a game 7 in the Stanley Cup Finals. Unfortunately, they lost. I guess I can kind of say I know an NHL player though, he’s living his childhood dream, and I had the same one. I instantly became a big fan of his and the Oilers as I hardly missed any of the playoffs, closely watching every game of Matt’s that I could. He’s a big tough defenseman and he scored his first NHL goal just a few games ago. It’s inspiring to me. He made it happen. Well I made this dream happen too, it’s not the NHL like I wanted when I was a young boy, but perhaps this is what I’m meant to do.

So there is another highlight. This also goes back to my childhood dreams. I have always wanted to meet Wayne Gretzky, and although it may never happened I at least got to see him in person tonight the other side of the rink. Of course he’s not playing anymore, but that doesn’t matter to me. He was my idol while growing up. I was even number 99 a couple years when I was younger. However, I do have a personalized autograph from him sitting in my room at home that I will always cherish.

Ah, hockey, it’s the greatest game in the world, and nobody will ever convince me otherwise. I remember getting to the ice rink first thing in the morning in Baraga, turning on the lights and lacing up while the lights are still warming up, the steam coming off the ice, the brisk air, and stepping over that boards to put that first skate on the ice. There are hundreds of crystal clear memories from it and moments that I can never forget. To me that is one of the greatest feelings in the world.

Ok, so there is one more highlight. Wow, what a night. I met this really cute girl, gorgeous, just beautiful! Who, you ask? A beautiful girl named Hilary Griffith, Miss Arizona 2006. And check this, she has even been on my website! Bill knows her and knew that she was singing the national anthems tonight and having an autograph signing. So, imagine that, Miss Arizona on my very website. Not that I would ever have the guts to ask her on a date, but it looked like she had a pretty big rock on her hand. But speaking of that initial list of things I wanted to do, one was to meet Wayne Gretzky, well I came closer to that today. Another was go on a date with a super model, and this was at least somewhat close to that too. One day when she’s world famous I can at least look back and remember shaking her hand and posing with her for a photo. Go me!

P.S. If there was a lowlight, which there is, it’s that they wouldn’t let me bring my camera in, which is just ridiculous. Another reason to cheer for the Oilers. I mean who cares if it’s a point and shoot or an SLR, from that far away it’s still going to be the same photo. No cameras with a detachable lens? What am I going to do, take it off and throw it at somebody? It reminds me of not being allowed to take photos of this one building in London. Imagine being a photographer in the 1920s, I wouldn’t have to worry about any of this and how ridiculous it is. But one of my new goals is to get a press pass to a big sporting event before this trip is over. As for Coyotes security, thanks for stripping me of my memories just because I don’t have a tiny point and shoot camera. Sorry, but it makes me a little bitter. So now you can go to the rest of the blog, because it’s much happier. Hmph.

Blog Date Posted: Dec 22, 2006 | 967 words | comments 2 Comments
Comment by Kristi Sauer
From Hugo, MN

The camera police are always after me too, bah humbug to them!!

Comment by Dad
From baraga, MI

Bugs, I'll have you know that MTU swept ND this year, both games, in ND!! So start whistling a different tune about MTU. I want to see you and Miss AZ