During the lockout, Scott Hartnell & Brad Richards organized a charity event in Atlantic City, sponsored by Caesars. Brad Richards’s team was mostly Rangers [and Ex-Rangers] with 2 Ducks [Corey Perry & Bobby Ryan] and James Neal. Scott Hartnell’s team was mostly Flyers & Devils, a few left coast Flyers [aka Kings], Steve Stamkos, OK Subban & the legendary Martin Brodeur. Interestingly enough the Flyers were still unable to win a game against Henrik Lundqvist.
The audience composed mostly of Flyers, Devils and Rangers fans with a few other teams scattered in the mix. As they announced each player, Flyers & Devils fans boo’d the Ranger players. Devils and Rangers fans boo’d the Flyers players. Flyers and Rangers fans boo’d the Devils players. If there’s one thing Flyers, Rangers & Devils fans can agree on, none of us liked the Pittsburgh Penguins. James Neal drew the most & loudest boos from just about everyone in the arena.
The game was a lot of fun [I’ll post pics later] & afterwards my Dad and I went back to Caesars. Since Caesars had sponsored the game, we figured there might be some players around we could get autographs from. I’d already gotten the only goalies, Martin Brodeur & Henrik Lundqvist’s ‘graphs on my stick so I decided to try to get Steve Stamkos’s autograph on a hockey puck. I changed from my Flyers Tee shirt into a Tampa Bay sweatshirt I’d had in my backpack, grabbed a Tampa puck & paint pen out of my back pack so I’d have it handy in case we saw him. The nightclub at Caesars was having an after-party, but I don’t think my Dad realized that ‘after party’ meant ‘several hours after’. I’m also pretty sure he’d never been to a nightclub as he didn’t seem to understand why I didn’t think it’d be a great idea getting his wheelchair into the nightclub. [We tried anyway, and I don’t think my dad will be visiting any nightclubs any time soon. I had an idea where some of the players might be, but my Dad said I was crazy and didn’t believe me. After the wheelchair in the nightclub debacle, I told my Dad we should go to where I thought the players would be, but he wasn’t convicned so we decided to head home.
I don’t really understand why, but Caesars valet [car] claim is not in the same place as where we’d left the car. The valet ticket needs to be brought upstairs and THEN you have to go back down to where you dropped the car off. Instead of pushing my Dad around the entire casino again looking for elevators, I decided to leave him downstairs while I ran up to get the valet parking ticket scanned. I conveniently left my Dad right in front of the place I’d told him all the hockey players would be at. With my luck, Steve Stamkos would probably walk by while I was upstairs handing in the valet ticket. Soooo.. I left the Tampa Bay puck and paint pen with my Dad and told him if he saw Steve Stamkos to get an autograph for me. My Dad sarcastically agreed to do this for me & I ran up to the valet claim.
Having handed in the valet claim check, I went back downstairs to find my Dad holding a [now signed] Tampa Bay Lightning puck. Sure enough only one hockey players had passed by and just happened to be Mr. Stamkos [one of the few current NHL players my Dad could easily recognize]. He was with Steve Downie, but I’d only given my Dad the one puck and I’m pretty sure he didn’t recognize Mr. Downie. My dad had asked him to sign the puck for me. At first I thought my Dad had scribbled on the puck to mess with me because he didn’t think I knew where the players were hanging out at. Or since I’d left him with just a Tampa puck. The other people waiting in the valet area said they’d seen him sign the puck for my dad. They thought it was strange my Dad holding onto a Tampa puck hoping he’d run into Steve Stamkos in Atlantic City.
Our car hadn’t arrived yet & I asked my Dad if he wanted any of the players signatures while we waited for valet to bring the car around. He said he wanted to get Henrik Lundqvist’s autograph, so I gave him a New York Rangers puck from my backpack and shook the paint pen. Not even 5 minutes had passed when the very next person we saw [I swear it was the weirdest thing] Henrik Lundqvist walk by. [Another one of the few current players my Dad recognized]. Henrk signed the Rangers puck for my Dad and then my car showed up at the valet. At this point my dad realized I DID know where the hockey players would be, we just thought it was weird that we just happened to see the two people we wanted to get autographs from.
I told this story to a few other people, who wanted to know why I carried unsigned hockey pucks for other teams & a Tampa Bay sweatshirt in my backpack. Especially since they know were from Philly. What is it you guys think women keep in the big purse we carry around with us?
Anyone know the last time these guys had a friendly chat during warm-ups?
Or shook hands like old pals?
For More info on Operation Hat Trick game & the supported foundations: