The Pediatric Children’s Cancer Foundation www.fastercure.org sent an email last week to some local families about tickets for Brad Richards suite for 2 different hockey games. I sent the response 12 hours later expecting all the seats to be gone, but low and behold, we scored 5. It turns out the tickets for the Saturday game were for the following week (today) and that the game was a 1pm game. 1 pm game = perfection. After enjoying a game in Brad’s suite with his wonderful assistant Kasey Dowd, Brad invites the families to come down outside the locker room to himself and other players. Most games start at 7 pm at the earliest ending around 10pm finishing the meet and greet around 11pm. This means the kids are worn out before the game is even over and grouchiness ensues.


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A 1pm game eliminates the late hour, with the game ending around 4 pm. Having just been to the Lightning Foundation party with Brad as our Santa Claus, we had lots of pictures for him to sign of him with us. The boys even received some hockey cards from Santa and Brad was one of the cards along with Vinny LeCavalier. My boss is a huge hockey fan and has season tickets to the Lightning. At the start of the 3rd period, I went down and brought John, Jeannie and their son Dominic up to the suite so they could come down to the locker room with us after the game.

The game was a rough physical game against the hated Philadelphia Flyers. Why is it that all fans of every sport in Philadelphia are complete moron jerks? Anywho, all the calls went against the Lightning, (Marty got called for cross checking while he was lying on his face in front of our goal. Uhhhh. What? The ref forgot his glasses I guess.) I though we (like I am part of the team now) outplayed the Flyers, the Lightning did out shoot them, but the score board at the end of the game read 4-2 bad guys win.

Kasey herded all of us down the freight elevator, there were so many families today it took 3 trips. The locker room area was a circus. Afternoon game = lots of people outside the locker room + the reason for the afternoon game was a college hockey tournament being held at the forum today and Sunday. We were moved to a room called Studio 54 far away from the locker room. It is the lounge area for the Lightning Energy Team ( a group of beautiful, fit 20 somethings, that run around on the ice between periods doing all the fun stuff). We got to see the Flyers walk by on the way out the door in their custom fit suits. Kasey then informed us that there was a players only meeting after the game.

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Oh well, at least we are in a room with a few leather couches and 2 big screen tv’s. Waiting waiting waiting. Ooooh. Looking through the windo in the door down the hallway, I see Andre Roy and his family walking out. I bolted past the security guard assigned to keep us from getting into trouble and out the door. I stop Andre and his wife and 2 year old daughter and have him sign the picture of he and Bowen. He laughed at the picture and his wife asked were did we get that picture? I politely reminded her that we were at the Christmas Party with them on the 16th and she laughed too.

Partial mission accomplished! A few minutes later I see one of the goalies walking past Johan “Homer” Holmqvist (yes, it is supposed to be qvist). I shot past the guard again with my cat like speed out the door and shouted “Hey Homer!” He turned and I asked if he could come in and meet the other families. At this point a rather short older security guiard hustled over to me and told me I couldn’t bother the players. He looked to be an old retired Marine Drill instructor that would my rear if I pushed it any further. I shouted, “Homer it s for Cancer Kids.” But since I think he only speaks Swedish he kept on walking. I get into trouble where ever I go.


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“Where is My Brad?” When Brad walked in the room Adelaine walked right up top him and asked, “Do you think you could get me some chicken fingers.” He did take the boys to get their food at the foundation party 2 weeks earlier, so I guess she decided it was her turn.

One of the Lightning announcers came into the room a few minutes later and let us know that the first team meeting had ended, but some of the guys were having another meeting. With Brad being one of the team leaders, of course he needs to be in all the meetings. So we waited. The first college hockey game started Notre Dame vs UMass. The room we were in was next to the zamboni parking which is next to the ice. The kids and parents kept peaking out until the announcer finally invited us to go stand at the glass and watch the game while we waited.


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Meanwhile my bosses 3 year old son Dominic, befriended the announcer to the point that the announcer decided that Dominic was going to help him start the tricycle race at the end of the 2nd period of the first college game. “Ready, Set, GO!”

Did you get that time frame? End of the second period of the next game, with an hour break between the 2 games. Half the families had dropped out of the “Survivor: Get to Talk to Brad Richards” saga. We did experience a hockey game from ice level and from behind the scenes for an unbelievable unforgettably fun day!

Low and behold less than 5 minutes later, In comes Kasey and Brad! Brad looked a little down, I can’t see why, only 3 hours of meetings after a tough physical loss against a team that you outplayed, but still lost to. As soon as he saw me though, Brad’s eyes lit up. He then shoved me down and went and gave Angela a big hug. Wait, that’s what Angela wished he had done. He asked me with a big grin how Christmas had gone and if we had gotten a Wii. He then went into the room and Angela did give him a big hug. We stood and talked to him for several minutes while all the other families just stood there waiting there turn. Hey, Brad is like Uncle Brad at this point. We got more pictures with Brad and then stepped out of the way so everyone else could have a turn.


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Try keeping your clothes on honey.

When we were walking out @ 6:51pm, Jeannie realized that Kasey used to be the Season Ticket holder account representative that they used to talk to before she started working for Brad. Kasey’s cousin is 14 year old golf phenom, Dakoda Dowd http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dakoda_Dowd. Dakoda lost her mom Kelly Jo to a breast cancer relapse earlier this year. Kelly Jo did get to see Dakoda in her first LPGA event where she birdied the first hole!

Kasey did let us know that she and Brad both went to the toy store to get the mountain of gifts that the kids received and that he loves doing that. She did have to try a few additional times to get the Hot Wheels game for the Smart Cycle.


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Adelaine had a treatment Thursday and started the latest round of steroids. She also got antibiotics for some “yucky ears”. Mason has thrown up 4 times tonight and we had planned on going to Give Kids the World for Sunday & Monday. Pray that he feels better and that it was nothing contagious, as we were with several kids with compromised immune systems today. Bowen is feeling good. He has really made a big transformation the past couple months into maturity. I think it is the fact that he gets to hang out with Mason and his buddies while waiting for Mom to pick them up. Twins, Max and Myles along with Mason & Bowen have a lot of fun at the car circle and at soccer, as the twins are on Mason’s team. Angela is lookin great as skinny as ever, she finally is getting over a nagging cough that sh has had since Thanksgiving. Well, I have started the exercise regimen rather slowly. I have cutout the late night snacks and plan on getting much more aggressive after the 1st. Its no fun to start now. We still have leftovers from the bacon wrapped turkey I made for Christmas dinner. Oh yeah, it tasted even better than it sounds.

dug

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