It Wasn’t About the Hockey

The icing on the cake came with the last round of jager shooters.   You see, after two nights of parking our sorry behinds at Hurley’s on Crescent street for several hours, it was last call but the final order for jager shooters was one that could not be filled – Hurley’s had run out of jager.   (Now, if the truth be told, they had simply drained the supply that was in their fridges but the fact that we’d had a significant hand in this made us proud).  And so, in lieu of jager, some of us had to fire back shots of Jameson’s to close out the evening.   A nice finish indeed.

It was the wee hours of Sunday morning but the place was still going strong.  The upstairs area closes before the downstairs area so this wasn’t really last call.  We simply went downstairs and enjoyed a bit more time before calling it a night.   Around 3:30, we wandered out into the rainy Montreal night and grabbed cabs back to the hotel, stopping one more time at Dunn’s for a smoked meat chaser and, for some, poutine, before heading to bed.    Well, some of us ate, some we’re still full from the salad’s we’d eaten at Rueben’s hours before.

There are more than a few stories to tell about last weekend’s trip to Montreal and they won’t all fit in this post so I’m going to write ’em as I remember them over the next few weeks.  Unfortunately, many will be lost to a bad memory but I’ll do my best.  A sample of what’s to come is how we came to learn that the loo on a limo bus doesn’t have unlimited capacity, and in fact, can fill up quite qickly on hockey road trip.   We found out quickly that the red team was a very good hockey team, much younger than us, and for a number of reasons, in much better shape to play than we were on Friday night.  We discovered that subtle changes in tournament protocol can make a big difference in the hockey player experience.  We had to pay for our first beer after each game (tournament organizers take note – charge us an extra $15 up front and avoid this PR debacle next year) but the hotel breakfast was miles ahead of last year’s if for no other reason than it had actually been cooked that morning.  Nice touch Holiday Inn.

There was also more cell phone calling, texting, BBM’ing and picture sharing than an average class of grade 9 girls shares in a year and while I railed on this early on, I came to see with clarity and wisdom at one point on late Saturday evening at Hurley’s all the goodness that such dialog can provide.   I will never turn my phone off again in the off chance Carey sends me an email with an attachment of some sort or other.  I can see it now, I’m on my death bed in my late 90’s, and just before I go, in my delirium, I mumble incoherently to loving family members at my side…”where’s my phone? who turned off my phone?  damn it you fools – get me my phone, there might be an email from Carey.”

There were the many moments of trash talking each other that I wish I’d recorded so I could remember them now for print.    There were the surprises that add to the fun like being passed on the 401 by a busload of orange-coverall-clad prisoners heading down the highway.  Funny, and a little creepy too.  Two busloads of grown men, one full of blokes escaping work, girlfriends, wives and lives for 3 days of fun, one full of blokes looking like escape from anything would be considerably more difficult.

There was the pineapple cookies I bought in the Chinatown bakery on Sunday morning, the piece of chocolate cake at Rueben’s that would have fed that entire bus of prisoners, the 23 goals Josh scored in three games for us, the four saves Gary didn’t make in the first game against the red team and of course, there was Tara Lee at Hurley’s saving a table for us on Saturday night and making sure we were never thirsty.

Perhaps next year, we’ll expect just a bit more from ourselves, perhaps we’ll train a little harder, perhaps we’ll be a little more ready for Friday night’s game, perhaps we’ll eat a little less meat, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll get to play Sunday and bring home an extra pair of MVP socks and a jacket as first prize.   Then again, maybe not.  Because you see, while we went to Montreal because of hockey, it wasn’t about the hockey.

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Filed under memories, Montreal, Road Trips, tournaments

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