After that experience I put the call out to hockey fans to tell me the first hockey player they met. I never expected so many stories to come flooding in. But flood in they did. Everyone had their own story to tell from someone valeting Terrible Ted's car to my friend Kat's meeting Jason Woolley. After reading through them all I decided to share a couple of them.
George Malik, mlive's resident Red Wings blogger, shared this story:
The first player I ever met was Sergei Fedorov, way back in 1992. I was a 13-year-old kid who'd just fallen in love with the Red Wings and I had the opportunity to "meet" Sergei at a signing at The Goalie's Den in Troy, which seemed like a million miles away from my home in Garden City.
My dad, my pal Joe Kim and I had to stand outside in January for an hour because the line was so long, and when we got inside as the second-to-last group receiving his signature, I was absolutely in awe, to the point that my dad had to prompt me to mumble, "Thank you" when he signed a puck I still have to this day.
"Jedi" on the forums of LetsGoWings.com said:
The first (and thus far, only) players I got to actually meet were Hasek and Datsyuk in 07. I went to the games in LA and Anaheim with the RWNW crew, and both Hasek and Datsyuk were injured for the game in LA. VIB16, rossco and I managed to get to the area where some of the players were meeting after the LA game. Apparently Babs was pretty mad since they lost the game, so only Pavel and Dom were up there. But we got to have pictures taken with the guys. It was awesome. I asked Pavel for a picture, and he said "Sure. 5 Bucks" (especially funny when a few months later he signed his current contract). The guy's a total ham, limited English skills and all."
"RedFX" also of the LGW forums shared a quite hilarious player meeting/embarrassing hockey mom story:
I was in 4th grade when the Preds first formed. Before the season started, Greg Johnson and Blair Atcheynum (blast from the past I know) were putting on a kid's hockey clinic at the YMCA. I, of course, was a shy little lad and just played hockey and that was that. My die-hard Wings fan mom, on the other hand, recognized Johnson in the parking lot. And in the most embarrassing way possible, screamed WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GGRREEEEEEEEEGGGGGGGGGGGGG JJJJJOOOHHHHHHHNNNNNNSSSSSSSSSSSOOOOOOOOOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! loud enough so the entire city of Franklin could hear...
"Bring Back The Bruise Bros" shared the funny side of Aaron Downey
I met Aaron Downey late last season in Syracuse when the Griffins came to town. Me and a friend had seats right on the glass. He got kicked out of the game with only a few minutes left and instead of heading to the locker room,he stood outside the tunnel right next to us. Couldn't be a nicer guy. Got a few pictures on my phone. He really is an agitator. The Crunch fans were giving him the business,messing with him because he had recently been sent down to Grand Rapids. One of the fans was REALLY obnoxious and Aaron turns around and he looks at the guys girlfriend and goes "Is he always this loud? God bless your heart if you have to wake up to that shit every morning." Good times.
"Wings4Life19" met Mister Hockey himself in quite an interesting way:
met Gordie Howe a little over a month ago, never thought i would get to met him seeing as I live in Wyoming but he came here for a benefit for youth hockey. the venue it was at was 1/2 a block from my building so i just walked there about 5 minutes before it started. As i was walking up to the door i see about 5 people going in and tailing behind them was Mr. Hockey himself, i slowed down cuz i didn't know how tight the security was for him and didn't want to get in trouble. He goes in and about 10 seconds later I go in and see him and the group of guys with him waiting for the elevator. the doors open as i start into the hallway and they crowd in, i knew that i would be waiting for it to come down as it was pretty stuffed and they didn't know me. but as i'm standing their waiting for the doors to close one the guys says "you coming" and i stood there for a couple beats with my jaw on the floor and said "ya". Gordie looked at my wings hat and said "whatcha got on your hat there?" me being completely star struck just said "Hello Mr. Howe" they laughed and then I just stared at Gordie and listened to him talk about how he couldn't walk around saskatchewan after he signed with the wings, that was and will be the best elevator ride of my life. the elevator opened and i walked out and got in line to enter the event and he walked passed everybody in line and into the event
The set up wasn't that great as he just walked into the room and everybody surrounded him and you just hoped he turned to you and got to talk to him. i waited about 10 minutes and he turned to me and he signed my wings hat and i got a picture with him, he didnt remember me from the elevator but thats ok with me
The first hockey player I met was Chris Chelios on the street in front of Cheli's Chili prior to a Kid Rock concert. It was raining and I look like hell... but I met him.