Game 7 frustrations

There are times in life when something important to you just isn’t going to work out.
It doesn’t matter how carefully you plan or how diligent you are in executing those plans—it’s just not going to work.
Such was the case in my life on Monday night.
All I wanted to do was sit down and watch Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final in the comfort of my living-room. That’s it.
It’s not like it was an unusual request. I would be one of several million Canadians doing the exact same thing.
I just wanted to see a good game between the Oilers and the Hurricanes. Both squads had played a hard-fought series, and one of the two teams was about to lift hockey’s ultimate prize for their effort.
Yep all I wanted to do was eat some nachos, drink a beer, and watch the game.
That was the dream.
My reality? I was trapped on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport in Toronto hoping against hope the mechanics working on my plane could fix the back-up ignition system.
I had been in Toronto for a wedding over the weekend. Two very good friends of mine tied the knot after years of dating.
The service, held at the University of Toronto, was tasteful and elegant. The bride and groom both looked wonderful. And the meal was delicious.
I had a bit of business to take care of Monday morning and so had scheduled my flight home for that afternoon.
The plan was to fly out of Toronto at 4 p.m., arriving in Thunder Bay around 6 p.m. I then would drive like crazy to Fort Frances and, with any luck, catch the final two periods of the game.
It wasn’t the ideal plan, but it would have to work.
I left for the airport around 2 p.m. thinking it was better to be early rather than late. I arrived with plenty of time to spare, checked in, went through security, and was sitting at the gate a full hour before boarding.
So far, so good.
I, along with the rest of the passengers, boarded the plane at the appropriate hour and we all took our seats.
Roughly five minutes later, the captain took the microphone and said, “We have a minor mechanical problem, but should be leaving in the next 10 minutes.”
“Okay,” I thought. “Worst-case scenario is that I’ll only be home in time for the third period.”
Thirty minutes later, I was carrying my bags off of the plane.
The “minor” mechanical problem had ballooned into a major mechanical problem and we were forced to change planes.
Our new departure time was 7 p.m. (EDT). I knew there was no way I was going to see a minute of the game, but I held onto hope that I might get to listen to it on the radio.
It didn’t take long into the drive back to Fort Frances from Thunder Bay to realize the radio wasn’t going to be an option. I quickly discovered there is no radio reception between the beginning of Highway 11 and Atikokan.
Unfazed, I set the dial to CBC and listened to fuzz for almost an hour-and-a-half hoping to catch even the slightest hint as to how the game was going.
When the radio did come back, it was just in time to hear the CBC Radio news announcer say the Carolina Hurricanes had just won the Stanley Cup.
And that was it.
Nine months of watching hockey and wondering who was going to win this year’s championship capped off by a single sentence from a monotone news reader.
When I got home, I turned on the sports highlights to get a better handle on what had happened during the game. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for myself having missed some neat moments.
It would have been nice to watch Eric Cole make his return from a broken neck in the final game. It would have been nice to watch Cam Ward accept the Conn Smythe trophy (although it should have gone to Rod Brind’Amour in my opinion).
It would have been nice to watch Thunder Bay’s own Eric Staal hoist the Cup for the first time. And it would have been nice to watch some of the veterans playing for Carolina—like Doug Weight, Glen Wesley, and Brind’Amour—get their hands on the Cup after so many years of chasing their dream.
It would have been nice, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
So much like the fans in Edmonton this morning, I’m left saying “Maybe next year.”

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