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When meeting The Great One is not so great.....

January 12, 2012

I often get asked if I ever meet any famous hockey players.  That all depends on who is considered "famous" in hockey.

The city I grew up in is definitely not a big hockey town.  When I met my husband, and he told me what he did for a living, our conversation went a little something like this...

"What do you do for a living?"
"I play hockey"
"So are you considered a professional?"
"Yes, I get paid to play the game, so I am a professional."

You see I never really thought about it that way.  In fact I never really thought about hockey at all.  Over the years, there have been many introductions to past teammates and opponents of my husband.  Hockey really is a small world, and everyone seems to know everyone.  Each time I was introduced to "what's his name" or "that guy" as I tend to call them husband and I usually have this conversation...

"So who is that guy again?"
"Jaromir Jagr?"
"Oh yeah, that guy....So what is his story?  Did he play hockey?"
{insert rolled eyes and a big sigh from my husband}
(PS....I totally had to look up the spelling of Jaromir's name just now!)

I don't even have to meet the player to embarrass myself.  There was one time that a friend of ours (who works for the Detroit Red Wings) mentioned Steve Yzerman*.  He was talking about how "Steve came out of the office..." and I innocently asked "Oh, is he the coach?"  
If I had one dollar for every second of silence...I would be as rich as Mr. Yzerman.  My husband shot me a look of pure embarrassment as he told me "Steve Yzerman is only one of the best players to ever play for Detroit!" As I apologized for my lack of hockey trivia, I pictured someone the same age as Gordie Howe**.  

** We had breakfast one time with Gordie Howe....that was pretty cool!  I did excuse myself to use the washroom and phoned my father to tell him that I met Mr. Howe.  

A few weeks later, as they were retiring Yzerman's husband called me in to watch.  I think my husband rolled his eyes twice when I said..."Oh, he is young!  I assumed he was in his 70's or something."
*I once again had to look up the correct spelling of Steve Yzerman

If you have read my blog for a while, you would know that I once met Adam Oates...and that didn't turn out too well.  You can read about that here.

However, even I know that the ultimate famous hockey player would have to be The Great One...also known as Wayne Gretzky.  Of course, any chance to meet Wayne Gretzky would be great.....unless you are me, then it is just a disaster.

For some reason, my husband's new team had a pre-season event at the arena....which included the Stanley Cup and an appearance of Wayne Gretzky.  My husband went ahead of me, and I was going to meet him there later.  Of course I was late because as usual, I couldn't find a thing to wear in my closet (see here) .

 I was sweating and out of breath (also known as a hot mess) as I ran up some stairs and would you guess who was standing at the top of them?  The GM, asst. GM, and Wayne Gretzky.  The asst. GM introduced me to Wayne in true hockey form....(because in hockey you are never introduced with your name. Just as {your husband's name plus the word wife or girlfriend after}.  It is so common, I usually introduce myself to other wives/girlfriends in the same way).

So I am introduced to Wayne Gretzky, friendly chatter is exchanged and then I mention the need to find my husband.  

The asst. GM said "Oh, follow us."

So off I went with the three of them down a hall and into one of the arena suites.  I assumed my husband was in there too.  But guess what...he wasn't.  So there I am, sitting in a chair across from Wayne.  The two GMs have disappeared and you can hear the crickets as Wayne and I just sat there.
Finally, Wayne's phone buzzed (or he pretended it did) and he excused himself.  I couldn't get out of that suite fast enough! AWKWARD!

Fast forward a few months...and it is now October.  I had taken my daughter to Target and we purchased the Cinderella costume she wanted....and the first bag of Halloween candy.  My husband was at the rink that night for something, so we stopped by.  The parking for the rink was underneath the arena, and from there you entered the lower level where the coach's offices and locker rooms were.  My daughter was playing in the wive's room when she asked if she could wear her Cinderella costume.  I ran to the car and grabbed it...and while I was out there I grabbed a miniature box of Milk Duds.
 Of course I didn't want my daughter to see me eat the candy, as I had told her we would not be eating it until trick-or-treat.   I opened the box and shoved all four milk duds into my mouth and started chewing as I walked through the hallway.

Wouldn't you know it, but out of an office comes Wayne Gretzky and he was walking my way.....

Suddenly I realized I had a mouthful of milk duds...and there was no way I could clear the chocolate and caramel from my front teeth before we crossed paths.  A dozen scenarios passed through my brain.  What if he says hello?  What if he recognizes me?  What if I have to speak to him?

So I did what any person who comes face to face with The Great One would do.....I turned my head, looked at the floor, and pretended not to see or recognize him while I walked past him.


April said...

Ha!  Well at least you can tell everyone that you "met" Gretzky 2 times!  I have to be honest, though, when I was reading this out loud I pronounced Yzerman's name wrong and Scott rolled his eyes at me, too.  So don't feel bad haha

kycorn said...

Awkward moments are wonderful! But even better when you are so honest about them. Especially with hockey royalty!

Tami Miller said...

This is a great story!  I can't believe you got to "meet" the Great one!  How cool is THAT! Sorry it wasn't under the best circumstances.  Funny about the Milk Duds though!  

 I have an autographed picture of Mark Howe and an autographed jersey with Rick Tocchet and Peter Zezil (sp?) from the 1980s Flyers wives carnival.  Crap! I'm showing my age!  I also got to meet Chris Therion - and I hate to say he wasn't a very friendly guy.  Who knows, maybe he was just having a bad day.  

Susanne said...

the. best. post. ever. 

erinraemac said...

I usually smile and nod when my husband his teammates talk about certain players. 90% of the time I have no idea what they're talking about.

Also, once we played Cranium (Canadian version) with a few friends. The answer to one of my questions was the Edmonton Oilers. I asked "What is that?" Then his friends proceeded to ask him whether he was sure he wanted to be with someone who clearly knew so little about hockey.

I have no idea who Yzerman, or Oates are either!! And honestly when I think about Wayne Gretzky I always remember his camio in The Might Ducks!!! Oh mannn.

Ross said...

It's been a bit since I checked in! What a post to check in on! This has to be the best post I've ever read of yours. You meet the icon of hockey not once but twice and you still mess it up. You had me in  stitches reading this.