Thanks to the strangest work schedule known to man (yes, stranger than the Acid Queen’s), I had Monday night off, and so I was able to attend another game at the Xcel Energy Center here in Minnesota. The thing that made this special was that I went as a guest of Branko Radivojevic. Trust me, I know. What the hell? Who the heck am I that I get to be a guest of a player? Well, the truth is, I had never met the man until last night. The guy in our show who plays Timon played with “Radi” (I believe with the Belleville Bulls), which just goes to show, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. And in this case, it’s not just who you know, but it’s who that guy knows. When we got to the arena, there were four tickets waiting, along with four of these.
Now, I looked at that, and I thought a family pass meant a pass that was for people who bought family packs or something (I know, I’m kind of thick). As we soon found out, it was for people who were family members, such as wives, girlfriends, and moms. And, in this case, us.
That’s Dawn and Mike, two Canadians out on the tour with us. Mike works in puppets, while Dawn is being a tour wife right now. She is an actress in her own right, most recently on Broadway in Les Miserables, playing Eponine. The wall they are holding up is where the family members wait for the players. While we were waiting here, Gaborik, Demitra (yes, Jes, him), and Rolston walked by. Jacques Lemaire walked by, and Mark (our patron saint of getting us in) said “Hi, Coach.” Seriously, what balls. It was awesome.
Our seats were great.
The game looked like it was going to be a blowout, even if the first few minutes were kind of sloppy. Roloson got pulled after the first period, and I don’t think anyone was surprised. And let’s not get into the penalries. Forget that, let’s…
It’s hard to score goals when you have a third of a game in penalties. Is it any wonder that the Oilers are in the basement of the league (5-10-0)?
Then Radi came out and met us. At first, I felt like a hanger on. I was just there, and he didn’t know me. That didn’t last long, and it felt like we had known him for a while. Then he took us into the dressing room. At this point, I didn’t take as many pictures as I thought I would, because I didn’t want to look like a tool in front of Branko (but I probably did).
As soon as you walk in the room, you can smell the hockey.
I never did get any pictures of Radivojevic. I didn’t want to ask, even though I’m sure he would have been fine with it. He was really nice, and I didn’t want to bug him too much. He was already going above and beyond for us.
After that, we left the arena. Hopefully he can come to our show on one of his nights off (they have most of this week before heading to Colorado) so we can do something to return the favor. Aside from going to the game, we got a whole other experience, something I have never gotten to do. It makes you feel even closer to the game.
OK, maybe not quite that close.