I want to tell you a very sad story, a story of pain and suffering, of heartache and frustration. I’m hoping this doesn’t ruin your day, but it probably will. Please be strong.
It was a while ago now, but I remember it clearly. I walked in to a Calgary Ticketmaster and asked about available tickets for the Habs in Edmonton. The lady looked at her book and said yes indeed, she had four, right behind the Edmonton bench. I don’t need to tell you that this was pretty well the best thing anyone has ever said to me. “Four seats right behind the bench.”
How could everyone have missed this? Poor suckers. Poor unfortunate and unknowing suckers who must sit higher up.
So my wife and I and the kids hopped into our minivan and drove up to Edmonton to see the boys play the Oilers, and we were going to be so close I could probably talk about the weather to Russ Courtnall or Ryan Walter as they skated nearby, and almost hear Patrick Roy chatting with his goalposts. It was going to be a terrific evening, a splendid evening, maybe the best evening of all the evenings ever spent.
We arrived at Northlands Coliseum during the warm up, and our seats were spectacular. Players were skating around and warming up just a few feet away. I felt sorry for those other fans higher up. They weren’t privileged like us, because we had the best seats in the house. Everyone was probably wishing they had seats like us.
How could I be so lucky? I patted myself on the back.
Close to game time, Oilers’ backup goalie Bill Ranford took his seat right beside my son, and I think my son looked at me like I was greater than Superman and Hulk Hogan. I’m sure I was. What other dad would find seats like this?
I immediately patted myself on the back again.
Then it happened. It all came crashing down. It still hurts when I talk about this, and when I think about it, it could have been different. Edmonton coach John Muckler, assistant coach Ron Low, and then a trainer all walked to the bench and took their places. Right in front of us. They even stood shoulder to shoulder so there wasn’t even a gap to look through. We had a great view of the stitching on their jackets. It was at that moment I think my kids stopped thinking I was Superman, and my wife started making divorce plans.
We didn’t see a thing except when play was far down at each end. I just think the coaches didn’t have to be so close to each other. A little space between them and we could’ve seen a few things in the middle of the ice.
Tickets were $35.74 each, along with restaurants and hotel. And I’m blaming the coaches. I figure Muckler owes me about $500.