Recently, I was back in St. Louis attending a wedding for my old friend Aaron, a diehard hockey fan and former collegiate hockey player (as well as a current hockey coach). I hardly ever get to talk hockey with anyone, and when he and his friends (also fellow hockey coaches) started talking about St. Louis's hockey team, the Blues, I almost felt left out. I mean, I remember almost nothing from last season. In fact, unlike those gentlemen, I only have one really good hockey story from the last three years. So I told it. And they loved it so much that it sparked the following exchange:
Dennis: Have you written that one down?
Me: No. No, I haven't.
Dennis: You should.
So, if you enjoy this one, feel free to thank a high school hockey coach named Dennis from St. Peters, Missouri (of course, you can also feel free not to; hell, you can feel free to wear mackrel as a hat for all I give a fuck).
A little more than two years ago, the Tampa Bay Lightning (that's an NHL team, in case you were wondering) won the Stanley Cup, which has the coolest traditions of any trophy, anywhere, ever. One of those traditions allows each player to spend a day with Lord Stanley's Cup. One of the players, Dave Andreychuk, decided to take the Stanley Cup bar hopping on his Day with The Cup. One of the bars he brought it into was a Bennigan's in New Tampa where I happened to be catching a bite to eat with some pampered, daddy's girl named Erin. We were sitting in one booth across from the bar, and, with the exception of a few old men, we were the only ones in that bar area. Well, that is until Andreychuk brought roughly fifty raucous, drunk people into the place.
The hockey players and their entourages crowded the bar and took up every available seat. Many of them were standing and many of them were visibly upset about it. I couldn't hear myself think. I also couldn't take my eyes off the Stanley Cup, which was placed on the bar.
A few minutes after the hockey posse entered the bar, a waitress came up to me and told me that if we were willing to give up our seats, Mr. Andreychuk would purchase all of our drinks and our meals.
“Excuse me,” I said, and walked by the waitress and up to Andreychuk at the bar.
“Congratulations, sir,” I said, and then muttered something incoherent about being a Blues fan and Tampa resident. “Umm, I understand you'll pay for my date and I if we give up our booth.”
He nodded. He looked like one of those football coaches who runs drills with his team. Old face, old hair, young body. It was a little freaky actually?like he was some kind of old/young hybrid?but he seemed like a nice guy. Though it's hard to tell how nice someone is when they don't speak.
“Umm,” I stammered (I felt like a five year old). “Can I touch The Cup?”
He nodded, this time while doing his best to keep his eyes on everything female (including my date).
Anyway, I touched the cup, got back to my seat and told Erin, “I just touched the Stanley Cup. By the way, we have to move. Andreychuk bought our booth.”
And this pampered little bitch actually said, “I don't see why we should have to give up our booth just because they brought in some dumb trophy.”
I was floored. I mean, I still can't believe she said that.
Two hours later in Erin's apartment, I gathered my clothes and told Erin that I probably wouldn't be seeing her again.
“Is this about that dumb trophy?” she asked, her ruby red lips curved in a pout.
“You see,” I said. “You just don't get it.”
Weeks later would come the announcement of the hockey lockout and the eventual demise of hockey in North America. So, in retrospect, it was kind of stupid to give up a good piece of ass just because she didn't get the importance of the Stanley Cup. But at the time, that decision was a no-brainer.
And there isn't a hockey fan alive who would have done differently.