(Note: Post was written during the NHL’s 3rd work stoppage — the great “Fall Lockout of 2012”)
It’s weird not taking my dad to hockey games. I’m trying to pretend it’s still summer but it’s cold & I lost my summer tan.
I put one of my doggies [Fifi] to sleep Monday so it was sort of bad week. I figured a mini vacation would help. Watch some hockey, try 2 get goalie ‘graphs during the lockout. I picked Chicago because their AHL team has a cute goalie that should be in the NHL after the lockout. His NHL team is in Canada so getting his ‘graph in Chicago, is one less Canadian city to fly to. [Goalies on Canadian teams are REALLY difficult to get]. My fave hotel is in Chicago too, the Palmer House Hotel (Hilton) which is the oldest ‘continuously operating hotel’ in the USA. A millionaire named Potter Palmer gave the hotel to his wife as a wedding present. Talk about overtly romantic gestures. You don’t see wedding presents like that anymore*. The hotel retains it’s historic looks from the outside and most of the common areas in the interior like the (humongous) foyer, lobby & hallways, but all of the rooms have been recently renovated to include modern amenities such as huge brand new flat screen HDTVs.
*Note: Less than 2 weeks after Potter presented the hotel to his wife, it burned to the ground in the “Great Chicago Fire” (1871)
I’m flying to Chicago Monday. Tuesday I’ll see the Chicago Wolves game. [Really cute goalie] and he’s good a at keeping the pucks out of the net. See…
I’ve tried a few times to get goalie ‘graphs before/after warm-up at local NHL games when I take my dad but visiting goalies don’t seem to like people that live in my city. I’ve never seen any of the visiting goalies sign, wave or do anything nice for ANY of the fans at my arena — even fans of their own team. When you see goalies on TV being nice to fans at an arena their visiting, whatever arena they’re at is NOT the Wells Fargo Center. I find this slightly confusing given the strong sentiment Philadelphia fans have for their team, it takes a lot of courage, loyalty and an overt personality to show up at the Wells Fargo Center wearing anything that isn’t orange and black. Anyone can wear a Detroit Red Wings jersey at a Columbus Blue Jackets home game, but it takes a special kind of person to wear a limited edition, commemorative, autographed [and might I add very expensive] Montreal Canadiens sweater bought by someone’s parents from the visiting goalie’s official website (you know who I mean — CP31). I would think there would MORE of an appreciation from players on the visiting team for at least their own fans in a hockey market like Philadelphia, but the goalies don’t want anything to do with anyone that lives there.
I have to say with only one exception, the visiting Captains will always toss pucks over the net for fans — their own and even Flyers fans, but I’ve only once seen a visiting player sign an autograph after warmups at the Wells Fargo Center (Ottawa Senators Chris Neil – very nice guy) So while the captains [except for one] are always nice, the goalies never even smile at fans (even those wearing extremely expensive merchandise purchased from their official web sites) let alone sign autographs after warmups or even after a game. While I can certainly understand they’re in their own little goalie world & all, I’d be somewhat more understanding if I hadn’t seen & heard of numerous occasions where the visiting goaltender WILL give away a stick or sign autographs for fans at just about every other arena in the league. Sometimes to fans wearing their colors in a rival city, other times just to the rival teams’ fans. Yet those same goalies can’t even crack a smile for their fans in Philadelphia.
I”m sure by now the ushers for the section next to the visiting team ice entrance must think I’m not too bright because I keep trying 2 get goalie ‘graphs even though I’ve not gotten one this way yet. I always think maybe tonight if I smile really pretty at the new prospect backup before warm-ups, maybe he’ll think it’s b/c usually everyone pays attention to the other goalie & here was someone interested in them, maybe they’d think it’s cool sign my goalie stick. But no luck. Would you believe at a PRE-SEASON game [vs Toronto September 2011) with NO ONE wearing Blue & White even the BACKUP goaltender can’t manage to make eye contact with a fan screaming his name […. Jonas Gustavsson] ? (Maybe I was pronouncing it incorrectly?)
As we’ve established attempting to collect goalie ‘graphs before / after games / warmups isn’t very efficient, I should also point out that other common options for obtaining visiting players’ graphs are also not available in the Philadelphia area. The visiting teams’ practice sessions are always closed, so this isn’t a viable option. The area where the visiting team enters & leaves the arena to / from the visiting team bus is in a secured area making it impossible to obtain autographs the way I’ve seen pictures of people doing at other arenas.
I now return you to my post where I’m in the process of seeking alternative means of obtaining [active] NHL goalie ‘graphs ….
My dad’s same friends said I should try 2 get visiting goalie ‘graphs at their hotels but I think that’s sort of creepy. They also said when I go to warm-ups 2 wear low-cut tops & bounce a lot. [I’m really good at it, I’m just not entirely sure it send the message that I want their autograph]. The next suggestion from my Dad’s friends was that I Tweet the goalie’s and ask them how I can maybe get their goalie ‘graph ahead of time. I’m not really into social media overall and I’m not entirely sure if tweeting players is viewed in the same way that stalking them at their hotel would be however it seems slightly less intrusive so I thought I’d give it a try. I got a Twitter account [iHeartHockey31] & looked for cute goalies I was missing on my stick. Given it was a new account with no followings attempting to contact high profile twitter accounts, I’m fairly certain my tweets have all ended up being flagged as potential spam and likely aren’t even seen by the players but what the heck.
Since I don’t mind getting ‘graphs at organized signings or charity events & goalies usually sign their name prettier when people are paying (or dontaing money to charity) for their ‘graph, maybe when I tweet them, I could offer to donate $ to their teams’ charity & see if they’d sign for me. Since it’s Mo’vember (2012), I asked some of the cute goalies if they’d sign theGoalieStick in exchange for dontations to their Mo’vember pages. The goalie for the Chicago Wolves [Vancouver Canucks] was the first one I tweeted & he said he’d sign theGoalieStick for me if I donated to his page, so I gave $250 for his Mo page and he said he’d sign for me at a game in Chicago.
Sweet… one of my fave cities to visit [i LOOOOOOVE chicago style pizza — and not that thick crust crap Pizzeria Unos calls ‘Chicago Pizza’, I mean real ‘Chicago Pizza’ like Gino’s East, Giordanos’s, Eduardo’s where there’s layers of crust and toppings buried in between like a giant pie that takes 45 minutes to cook]
I’ve been to games in lots of NHL cities but don’t think I’ve been to an AHL game. The Wolves didn’t have home games until the end of November. The 20th was a weekday game where my fave hotel had a suite & airfare wasn’t expensive. I had to get a ticket for the game.
AHL tickets were even LESS money then Tampa Bay tickets. $50 for first row seats behind the goalies. I had to figure which side to sit by. I checked out the visiting goalies to see if they were cute [or any good]. They weren’t [cute or good]. I wanted to sit behind the cute Chicago goalie but wasn’t sure which he was at twice. I had to match up the wolfie mascot on the ice in a game to the ticket map & figure it out. I think I got the right seats.
Now the big wardrobe question. What team’s Girlie Tee to wear to the game. [This whole T-Shirt issue probably needs a post of its own but anyway…. ]. As I’d decided not to buy new Flyers T’s that wouldn’t work. I tried really hard to buy a Rangers Tee, since I’d decided to be a Rangers fan since the last playoffs. I don’t know what it was, but I just couldn’t bring my self to buy a Rangers Tee shirt. The AHL & Chicago Wolves online store didn’t have girlie tees with goalie names on them so I finally settled on the idea of buying a Canucks T, the NHL team affiliated with Chicago.
I don’t understand what marketing genius at the shop.nsh site thought they’d make money by preventing all roster player names to be used on their custom T-shirts, but discovered this to be the case as I tried to order a Canucks Tee with ‘Lack’ on the back. No joke… Here I was thinking .. what a cool way to let people pick out their favorite player without having to stock every size/color/name but no, not so much. U can have anything u want written on the back of a tee except the name players on the team. [More on this coming soon. Is it just me or is the NHL again finding new & creative ways of NOT letting me spend money? [I’m beginning to see the source of the NHL’s revenue issues.] .
I managed to find a Canucks Tee that was made by the same company that made my fave Flyers Tee & finally settled on that. When I got the Tee in the mail it fit just like my 5th & Ocean Flyers Tee did. [how comfy are vintage burn-out tees]
Gameday – November 20, 2012
I flew in yesterday to make sure my stick would make it too [not that I’ve ever had issues on American, just being cautious]. It’s almost 10AM [technically in Chicago it’s almost 9AM here, but I’m not here long enough to bother with changing the zones on the laptop]. My fave pizza place in Chicago brought me the best pizza ever!! [I can only eat one slice before I’m full]. You can’t get pizza anywhere else in the country like that [except for Giordano’s in Orlando & a place that I can’t remember the name of in Greektown in Detroit]. It’s not like that stupid chain Uno’s that claims to have Chicago Pizza. It’s the yummiest stuff pizza pie ever. [Totally worth the 2 hours in the gym for a slice].
Now to find something exciting to do in Chicago for the next few hours till the game. Shouldn’t be too hard?
The game was pretty cool. I had tickets for seats in the front row & tried to get some good pics, but the glass was really scratchy so it was hard to get really clear pics through the glass. It was also a little foggy/cloudy [maybe from the pre-game fireworks] so pics across the ice didn’t come out too great. [I noticed the same foggy effect when I watched the game later on TV].
Eddie Lack played really good and made lots of saves through the night. The other goalie was really bad. Really bad. He got pulled [for an even worse goalie] after the second period]. The other team wasn’t doing a good job keeping the crease clear of people for him. A few times I’m pretty sure his own team may have been screening him. Eddie was way better than the Admirals’ goalies.
One of the ushers showed me where the players came out after the game to sign autographs, but I was a little worried about missing my flight later that night. I had the last flight out that night. There was a lady at the customer service desk, Becca. When I told her I’d flown in to see the game, she said for a donation to the Chicago Wolves Charity, she’d take the stick back for me right after the game so I wouldn’t miss my flight. She only asked for a $25 donation, but I gave $100 since it was for charity.
I brought theGoalieStick over to Becca during the second intermission. After the game I waited where she’d told me to meet her. Shortly after the game ended, she brought the stick out to me with Eddie’s signature on it!
Here’s where Eddie added his signature to theGoalieStick for me:
How Sweet is That 🙂
Thanks for the Goalie ‘Graph Eddie Lack !!!!
PS: Eddie’s team won the game. And I made from flight home. theGoalieStick wasn’t as lucky as it was stuck in Chicago for another night in Chicago. Thanks to American Airlines for getting my stick back to me at 1AM in the morning almost TWO ENTIRE DAYS after I arrived home. [Hence my biggest issue traveling to other cities to collect goalie ‘graphs, luckily this was the way home & not the way there)
** Update **
Eddie is now officially the backup for the Vancouver Canucks & has been doing really well since his debut this season (2013-14). Now if only the Canucks can manage to trade Roberto Luongo’s huge contract, I might not have to visit Vancouver to get any goalie ‘graphs. Also, Eddie had offered fans autographed items in exchange for Mo’vember donations. In addition to signing my goalie stick, I (unexpectedly) also receive an autograph photograph AND an autographed puck a few weeks later in the mail, so I wanted to say thanks to Eddie Lack for the surprise gifts too.
Eddie Lack, you’re a true Swedish Sweetheart & I wish you all the best & lots of success in your NHL career.