MONTREAL, QC. — It was Montreal’s first blustery and wintry day. Bundled up, I trudge through the snow. I need to be on time. An envelope awaits, bearing my name, with the coveted tickets. In four days, I will be on the Bell Centre ice skating with the Habs.
Why is this elevator taking so long?
The doors open finally and I slip inside hoping that no one notices my anxiety. The hallway is teeming with other people awaiting their Habs bounty. Who are all these people? Do they even know how to skate?
I glance over the shoulder of the man in front of me and see a table where about 30 envelopes are laid out.
I present myself and mine is handed to me. I look. Yes that’s my name. The Habs logo is there too. So far. So good.
Gingerly, I open it. Like the sun bursting through the clouds, it seems to be radiating a light. I blink thinking my mind is playing tricks on me. Where are they?
Thankfully, it was that split second where anxiety overwhelms logic. That split second where somehow you make your own joy disappear.
But they were there. Four tickets. All accounted for. All mine.
“When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are. Anything your heart desires, will come to you”.
Jiminy was one smart little cricket. I wished upon a Habs star and my wish came true. I will meet Habs.
The countdown to Sunday, the countdown to seeing my heroes, begins.
Time passes waiting for Sunday like a one goal Habs lead killing a 5-on-3 Penguins powerplay.
But the buzzer does finally go off and I rise up into the glorious day that I skate with my Habs.
In the bowels of the Bell Center, we are corralled in an area and told to lace them up. There seem to be thousands of people, yet there are only 100. My perception of reality is so intertwined with my dreams that I can scarcely separate them.
We walk towards to ice. I don’t even know what entrance it is until I see it.
It’s the Zamboni entrance. I imagine the roar of the crowd and look out into an expanse that feels like it would humble the Grand Canyon.
Up above, the scoreboard. To the right, the players bench. Across the way, the penalty box. This is what the players see. This is what the players feel. I am so excited!
I can’t imagine I could live the dream that is their every single day. A life they lead with what God gave them and what they made of themselves.
The announcement that it is Lars Eller, David Desharnais and Ryan White on ice for 45 minutes are met with shrieks of joy.
Time to get to work.
So many people here. Everyone with the same goal: Meet. Say hello. Sign a jersey. Snap a picture.
Lars Eller is so tall and blond! Such a nice smile. Our turn! We say hello. He talks to my kids. He signs my jersey. We take a picture. I thank him and he says “It was my pleasure.” Such a nice young man to take pleasure in our little family.
Off to centre ice I go. I need to take a picture of me sitting right on the famed logo!
We then skate to the goal crease. I hunch over and imagine what Carey Price sees during a game. The action fast and
furious in front of the net. A goalie so courageous. You imagine the shots flying with great speed and power.
Ryan White isn’t on the ice, but at the players’ bench. I need to ask him how he’s doing. I look into his eyes and blurt out “Ryan baby, we miss you! when are you coming back?”
He smiles and says “In two weeks, I’ve been skating, and I feel great!”
And that is a Lady E scoop.
I exclaim “I cant wait to see you back in action!” He replies “I love your enthusiasm!”
He signs the kids’ jerseys and I tell him “Sign right here Ryan!” on my crest. He starts laughing.
I tell him “It’s a lot easier to sign there when it’s little kids huh? On an adult woman, your hand shakes!”
He says “No Kidding!”
We take a photo and as I skate away I turn and blow him a kiss “Get back to this ice soon!”
He was smiling at me all afternoon after that !
Hey, I’m allowed to flirt a little.
Youppi is buzzing around us. We skate to him and start snapping pictures. My friend tells him “Great ‘stache man” Youppi replies “Merci!”
Lady E scoop number two: Youppi speaks.
The siren goes off. Our skate is finished. One more group photo with three Habs who will forever be different to me than the rest who shall through the course of time don the ‘CH’.
For a brief moment, I shared the ice with White, Eller and Desharnais.
In fact, I think White could have scored on Bell Centre ice for the first time this season. Those blue eyes. That crooked smile.
Sorry. Where was I?
I saw the men behind the jerseys. These men there to make fans happy. And that they did.
I will never forget Lars’ infectious smile, Ryan’s laugh, nor David’s cool mustache!
A dream came true. I met Habs, and they made me happy. Just like they’ve always done since I watched my first game as a little girl.
Time marches on, but great things don’t change.