The tickets actually belong to former Toronto Maple Leaf Stew Gavin, but he gave them to Gavin Management Group client Humble Howard who took me along for the ride. I wasn't just going to a Leafs game, I was getting a chance to hang in the Alumni Lounge.
Donning my #5 Bill Barilko jersey, we got there nice and early to watch the pre-game skate. Actually, it was more like the pre-ceremony skate. Mark Messier, Al MacInnis, Ron Francis, Scott Stevens and Jim Gregory were introduced before the game and then there was a solemn Remembrance Day ceremony before the puck actually dropped. The first period wasn't particularly noteworthy, but then we made our way to the Alumni Lounge.
Stew Gavin greeted us there and he was with his buddy Jim Peplinski. Peplinski played for the Flames and co-captained the Calgary team that won the Stanley Cup in 1989. It was very cool to hang with both Gavin and Peplinski, but once in the lounge, it was Nick Kypreos who made a bee-line for us. Apparently Kypreos, a genuinely engaging and swell fellow based on our brief convo last night, is rather grateful for the broadcasting experience he gained on the Humble and Fred show. Now that Kypreos seems to be everywhere, hosting a radio show and appearing regularly on Sportsnet, this earned Humble a big hug from the big guy. I was distracted the entire time by his massive Stanley Cup ring.
Although he wasn't a part of our little circle, I couldn't help but notice that Eric Bana was hanging in the Alumni Lounge as well. I'm pretty sure he never suited up for the Leafs, but I suppose he knows people. Maybe he knew Gavin?
While we were walking from the Alumni Lounge to our seats, the Rangers scored two to go up 2-0. We came back thanks to a pair of Poni goals and I got to witness my first ever shootout live. Shootouts are exciting as all hell, but there should be five shooters instead of three. It was over in seconds...
It was a great night. Humble was fantastic company, even buying me a hot dog and Coke, and I got to meet a couple of former Leafs and a former Flame. Here's a photoset of pics I took during the night. Thanks HH!