February 11, 2002
Well aren’t I the luckiest prick in the entire world. On Wednesday, January 30, 2002, I had the opportunity, one which I would’ve bet several people’s lives on,(not my own cause really, you never know anyways), to play with some of the greatest NHL players of all time, not to mention some good and not so good celebrities. It’s not often I choose to elaborate and/or review the great moments of my life in depth. I find that most of the time it’s too hard to put into or to find the appropriate words that would do it the justice I deem necessary. Joy, especially pure untainted joy, can’t be reproduced with the same significance afterwards. It can be relived by the one who experienced it in the first place, not to the same extend however, and to try to pass it on to others who weren’t there is too impossible a task, so screw off and mind your own business, this recap is over.
Alright, I’ll at least go over the events and hilights of the day for those vicarious-living, bloodsuckers out there. Yeah that’s you if you’re still reading. Actually, it’ll be my pleasure. Here we go.
I arrived at the Staples Center early in the afternoon to quickly check out the NHL Fantasy events that were held at the Convention Center across the street. There me and several friends had a great time fooling around at all the different games they had set up. We shot pucks and balls around at targets, became the targets ourselves in the goaliegame, and even got a hockey card of us made. After killing several hours, it was time for me to head back to Staples to get changed into my equipment to help out some kids at a hockey clinic they had set up at the Convention Center. Arriving in the locker room was such a thrill. They had set up everybody with their own cubicle and it was very cool to walk in and see my jersey with “16 Fehr” hanging there. They also provided a stick for me that had my name stamped on the shaft just like the pros. It was really cool.
After getting dressed, I got into the van that would take me over to the Convention Center and shared it with Pete Mahovilich, member of the legendary ’72 Team Canada. Having just watched the documentary “Summit on Ice” the night before which documents that all important, never to be forgotten series between Canada and the former Soviet Union, I was honored and excited to be able to ask him a few questions about it and, for anyone that’s seen it, Pete’s undressing of one of the Russian defenceman for a really crucial goal in one of the games. After the short ride, I quickly put on my skates and had a great time on the ice with the kids doing various drills. There was an accuracy drill, slapshot contest, puckhandling drill, and a passing drill. My slapshot was the second fastest that I saw at 78 mph. The fastest was Lochlyn Munro at 79. I even beat out Dave Taylor and Pete Mahovilich. The clock was off though, I think it didn’t read everyone’s quite as fast as theyt actually were cause Pete and Dave Taylor kept saying there’s no way there shot could be that slow.
Once that was done, we got bused back to Staples and had about half an hour before the game. I just sat in my cubicle and watched players like Jari Kurri, Phil Esposito, Glen Anderson file in and suit up. It was really great. I didn’t say much and not cause I was nervous but just because I was content to sit and watch. I actually sat beside Allan Bester who was a goalie for the Maple Leafs in the 80’s and we had a good time just shooting the s*@t. I think, but don’t quite remember, but I think I introduced myself to Esposito in the locker room before game time because after the introductions and all that, Butch Goring, our coach, was going to announce the lines. I had prayed, not really but you know, the night before that I’d get to play with Kurri and Esposito. Well holy crap, if Phil didn’t just get to the bench and before Butch could read out the lines, said, “Kurri, let’s go.” And then he looked around and stopped at me and said, “You’re going to play with me, c’mon.” I nearly crapped my pants. It was exactly like I wanted. It’s funny too, cause I wasn’t nervous in the least. I was having too much fun to be nervous.
I figured out quick that if they chose to, the pros at half speed could fly right by me. It’s crazy how fast they can skate. But if I played smart hockey like I have to to make up for lack of skills, I figured skating with those two guys, I should be able to get a goal, which was absolutely necessary to me. I had already decided that if I didn’t score a goal during this game, I’d be severely depressed forever. Well lucky me, I ended potting two but they gave my second one to Kurri, like he needs more. We ended up winning the game by a score of 11-10 and I had an extraordinary time.
So between playing with Kurri and Esposito and scoring a goal, I had a dream come true and it’s something I’ll never forget. A little side note before I end this. It’s funny how Hollywood is what it is and how it thinks and how everybody else does. You all know how I feel about the “Hollywood” lifestyle, etc, and there’s this humorous story that happened in the locker room afterwards. Even though it’s minor, it’s somewhat telling and makes me laugh and appreciate my upbringing even moreso, small town Canadian and all. Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Phil Esposito had cubicles next to each other in the locker room and after the game I went over to Phil to thank him for everything and to ask him to sign my DVD of “Summit on Ice”. After he signed it and I thanked him again, I went back to my section to get changed. My buddy Scott comes up to me laughing and says, “Get this. After you left, Cuba goes to Phil, “Where’s the kid from?” “, obviously meaning what movie, show, band, or whatever, and God bless Phil, Canada, and hockey, since I’m quite certain all of those figured into Phil’s matter of fact answer. “I think he’s from Winnipeg.”