Hockey Heroes: Oh, What a Night!

Bobby Orr, Sidney Crosby, Mario Lemieux, Denis Potvin
We all have those special sports moments that we’ll never forget. Not the ones on TV. The ones you were actually a part of. The historic game that you can say, ‘I was there!’ A no-hitter, a World Series or Stanley Cup game 7, A Super Bowl, a game where an athlete did something so special that it became legendary. I saw Henry Aaron hit a grand slam once. That’s one I’ll always remember. But there was one special night that I will hold dear for the rest of my life. Not because anything spectacular or historic happened on the rink. But because, well, let me explain.

It was November 25th, 2005 – just a routine regular season game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Florida Panthers in Sunrise, Florida. A friend of mine works for the local cable company and managed to secure tickets in the club box for the Friday night game. I was very excited, being a Penguins fan. I was going to get to see Mario Lemieux and the new kid, a rookie named Sidney Crosby. Yes, it was that short period of time when both of these splendid hockey players were on the ice together. That alone would have made this night something very special, but the little surprise that came later took it to the level of once-in-a-lifetime.

Right before we left for the game, Kary, the guy that scored the tickets for us, got a phone call from his boss. He was told that we were going to have to share the box with a couple guests. We were already trying to squeeze three families into the box, but hey, the tickets were free. What were we going to do, complain? We got there early and went down rink-side to watch the teams warm-up. I had a crappy little camera with me and took some pictures. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get Mario and Sidney together in the same frame – something that bums me out to this day. But it was cool watching them up close. I remember Mario was the only one out there without a helmet.

When we went back up to the box to sit down, it was still just our three families. We each had sons that played hockey. They were all 13-years-old at the time. About 10 minutes before the game started, two distinguished-looking older gentlemen came in to join us. One, I recognized immediately, it was Denis Potvin. He was currently the color announcer for the Florida Panthers, and of course a Hall of Fame defenseman. The other guy, well, it was none other than Bobby Orr.

Bobby Orr couldn’t have been nicer. He patiently posed for pictures and signed pucks for all of our kids. Then he sat down and watched the game with us. He chatted with the kids throughout the night – a total gentleman. People were brought in and out of our box throughout the night. He pleasantly signed magazines and pucks and shook hands with folks that must have known somebody who owed them favors. He was gracious and patient throughout – exactly what you hope your hockey heroes to be. So for those of you that have not had the pleasure, rest assured that Mr. Orr did not disappoint.

So, there you go. That’s my sports highlight story. Sitting in a club box with Denis Potvin, Bobby Orr, watching Mario Lemieux and the rookie Sidney Crosby play together on the ice. Not bad, eh?

Thanks, Kary!

And on that note, this week I released a new eBrush Design t-shirt design for Hockey Shirt Shop. It’s called ‘Hockey Hero’ and should be vaguely familiar to those of you that rock the video game console as well as the ice. Check it out here.

3 Comments on “Hockey Heroes: Oh, What a Night!”

  1. Yes Mark, that was quite a night for all of us. Where has the time gone. I look at the pictures above and the other pictures of that night and it just doesn’t seem that long ago. They looked so young!!! Hell, we all looked so young and it was only 4 years ago. Our kids are now 17 and will be off to do their own thing soon. I miss those times when all the boys were close and we all were close.

    I know it’s part of life where friends and friendships tend to take their course because the kids grow up and grow a part, but those times were always fun and I will treasure them forever. These are memories that can never be taken away from us. I too want to thank Kary and his family for providing all of us with that great memory. It was awesome! I would also like to thank both you and Kary for being such good friends over the years. Hey, without the two of you, Matt would have never had the interest to continue to play hockey………and for that I will always be eternally grateful.

    Thanks for all the good times and hopefully there are more to come!


  2. this is the best website to order hockey tshirts love the designs and the story of how you met bobby orr keep up the good work and keep the designs coming i will tell my friends about your site they all play hockey they will love the rink rat shirts

  3. Pingback: Bobby Orr Book Scores « HSS: THE BLOG

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