It’s amazing how a little plan comes together, as if the stars and planets aligned and the hockey gods put their touch on this poor soul who wanted to do something but didn’t think it was in the cards.
On and around February 22, some unexpected days off at work will occur. On this day my wife and I will be delivering a computer to my daughter-in-law in Vancouver. And on this day the Montreal Canadiens just happen to be in town to play the Canucks.
I was absolutely resigned to watching the Canadiens on television. I figured I’d be working. I thought not a ticket would be found except possibly the odd nosebleed type. And I figured I’d be way up the coast in Powell River anyway.
I was wrong. I’ll be in Vancouver and so will the Habs. Again – hmm.
How could I be in Vancouver and not go to the game? Montreal only comes once a year and sometimes not at all. So I put to work my remaining brain cells, the ones which escaped the sixties, and now, I’m more than happy and proud to announce that - WE’RE GOING TO THE FREAKING GAME!!!
Without first having a ticket for this sold-out affair, one of the hottest dates of the year, I went ahead and booked a hotel room just across the street from Rogers Arena. That was step one. Then I spent several hours on the computer checking ticket outlets and ebay, but there was no guarantee, even if I found a pair I liked, that they would reach my home by mail in time.
But I was going to be in Vancouver, had the hotel room across the street, and if I had to talk to scalpers, it’s what I was going to do. I told myself I’d just work an extra week at the end when I’m retiring.
But then I tried Craigslist and found some great deals on tickets for this big night and dutifully recorded about 20 different sellers with good seats. I’m an impatient sort, and when I didn’t hear back on email from the guy with seats at dead centre, lower bowl, eleven rows up, I went to plan B, which meant finding a seller with a phone number.
And I did. I got hold of a woman with a pair of tickets, who lives and works downtown, so picking them up will be easy, and we made the deal over the phone. I’m crazy with excitement. We’re 8 rows up, behind the net and slightly off to the right before it reaches the corner. I’ve sat in seats like these before in Toronto and at the Forum, and it’s a splendid view. I love watching the rush coming towards me, seeing how hard the shots on net really are, and the way plays are set up as the team works it way toward the other end while the other prepares a defence to the attack.
And the tickets are only slightly more than face value.
Damn, this is fine. I should buy some champagne. Excuse me while I kiss the sky.
So either the night before or early the morning of the game, my wife and I will drive for half an hour, ride a ferry for an hour, drive another hour and and a half, ride another ferry, arrive at Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver, drive for half an hour to downtown, pick up our tickets, and then I’ll look upwards and thank the hockey gods for making this all come together.
I haven’t seen the Canadiens play since 1998 when they were in Vancouver , and my seats were up in the clouds and two guys with big heads blocked much of my view. Montreal also lost that night. My buddy Gary Lupul, who once played for the Canucks and then became a scout, promised me he’d take me down for a game and we’d sit in a box, but Gary died before we had a chance to do this. Before 1998, I saw them play a few times in Calgary during the Patrick Roy years. The games in Montreal for the decades before now feel as if they’ve become centuries.
I’m like a little kid right now. It’s Christmas morning. Several birthdays. That night Sophia Loren called me. (I made that up).
If you’re watching the game on February 22nd from Vancouver and see a couple in the stands just over from behind the net and the guy with a blue Habs hat has a huge and silly smile on his face, that’ll be me.
This is a good day. I’m going out to celebrate.