Let me open this post with a big thank you to everyone who came by the blog and made this weekend such a great success. I was absolutely blown away by the amount of traffic and comments the site received this weekend and really appreciate the support and readership. Hopefully I was able to open a few more eyes to the blog and gain some regular readers! I would also like to thank the National Hockey League for granting Tom and I access to the draft – I had an absolutely amazing time and hope the relationship continues to blossom! Lastly, I would like to thank the New York Islanders for really making this all possible, Corey Witt for doing the legwork and keeping us in the loop, Josh Bernstein for taking us under your wing and making sure everything was going smoothly, the guys from Islanders tv (Steve and Matt) for all the hard work you guys put into the production of the videos and the interviews, Steve Mears for the great conversations, compliments and advice and finally Greg Logan for showing us the ropes and teaching us how to work a draft! It really was one of the most memorable weekends that I have ever had and hopefully one of many to come!
Home is definately where the heart is they say, I would have to agree.
What started with Tom and I spending free time at the airport has turned into an all-day affair. Our flight from Ottawa to Montreal was quick and painless, a mere 27 minutes from wheels up to wheels down. Unfortunately, we had that pesky connection in Montreal…….
When we arrived in Montreal, we needed to hustle across the airport to make our connection. We cleared customs in a heartbeat and continued onto the terminal. Our special friend (*whom I will introduce in a second) informed us that our connecting flight will either be delayed – or canceled completely. Fine we think, of the delay (which was only an hour) – it gives us a chance to grab a bite to eat and explore the airport.
As the time went on flights all around us began to get canceled, we started to worry a bit because we both did not want to extend our stay any longer. There was some bad weather holding planes in their destinations that was causing log-jams along the east coast and not enough planes for passengers. The gods were smiling on us tonight however, as our plane was at the terminal – just waiting for clearance due to the weather.
We finally board and we taxi away from the gate – and stop.
While sitting idle, I happened to be looking down the aisle towards the flight attendant and she was on the phone relaying information to the pilots – something I knew couldn’t be a good sign. Our flight had been delayed again – due to a ground stoppage in New York. Come to find out there was a problem with one of the doors as well, so that was being fixed while we were waiting. We get a sudden all clear and begin to taxi again – and then stop. Apparently this time, due to the opening and closing of aircraft doors the computer system was causing “alarms”. Can you say, unsettling? The aircraft computers needed a reboot (must have been running Windows Vista…), and this took 5-10 minutes longer.
Finally, success – we leave for another short flight, about an hour wheels up to wheels down. The trip was smooth and I had an interesting chat with a nice woman from Saskatoon (whom was a huge Habs fan) so it made the time go by even faster. We got our bags within 10 minutes of landing and I was on my way home – our awesome weekend trip officially over.
*The introduction of our “special friend”
While sitting on our flight to Montreal, an older gentleman walks down the aisle and Tom and I looked at each other and simultaneously said “OMG, Glen Sather!”. We giggled to ourselves at the luck of running into someone else in the Rangers organization. If you don’t remember the previous story – we ran into Larry Brooks at our hotel and some of the Rangers executives the first morning of the draft.
Tom is pretty much the same way as me, we don’t go out of our way to say anything to anyone (when it comes to personnel) unless the opportunity is golden. While waiting online to clear Customs – someone recognized him and it caused a firestorm of introductions and questions. When everything subsided, I mustered up the courage and said “I imagine there is no such thing as obscurity up here, is there?” He laughed and said no, not really.
Having opened up communication now, I mentioned we knew who he was but figured he was getting bothered by enough people so we didn’t want to make a fuss. He asked if we were up for the draft and I said – “Yes, but with the enemy” and chuckled to let him know I was teasing. He had an ear to ear smile and said, “Are you with the Islanders?” and we explained who we were. He seemed impressed that a bunch of bloggers would pay their way up to Ottawa and said that ambition is the only way to get ahead of the rest sometimes. We chatted for a minute or two longer, got through customs and then asked if we were on the connection as well. He told us about the delay and we thanked him for everything.
Fast forward to New York and we see him again at the baggage claim. At this point, almost pandemonium. Everyone and anyone recognized him and he was again getting pestered about the draft and the upcoming UFA period. He looked at us and mentioned what he said previously (something I feel obliged to leave out intentionally) and said everyone asks the same thing and he shook his head. We all laughed and Tom and I reminded him we knew better than to ask those type of questions. We thanked him for the conversations, wished him well and off into the sunset.
It was almost fitting that our trip would end with a great story, you cannot plan for things to happen like this – but it sure is great when they do!