The Sharks are in town to play the Flames, but more importantly they are coming to Edmonton after that to play the Oilers. What's so important about that you may ask? Loyal readers its now time to share with you the story of the time I met Joe Thornton.
I have been a fan of the Sharks since 03/04 (as in, before it was cool). I still remember the day that Jumbo Joe went to San Jose from Boston. Want to know how big of a fan I was? I was worried that Marco Sturm and Brad Stuart would end up being worth more than him (HA). Anyways, my story begins in a university residence building...
If you live in a residence and you are social at all, by that I mean you at the very least watch some TV in the common room and brush your teeth every night (a good way to meet the boys), then by the time second semester rolls around you know your fair share of people in the building. As for me, I was quite social (drank to excess 2+ nights a week), and I was a second year in the building. So by the time second semester of second year rolled around, I knew quite a few people in the building.
Ah yes, the Ranch. Former home of dollar hi-balls on Wednesday. Needless to say, if you brought about $20 for drinks and a ride home, you could get yourself proper fucked on a Wednesday night. Anyways, I am not a frequenter of bars. The scene is not for me, you have to dress up and pretend to dance with girls, and the bartenders never serve you more than seven shots at a time (as Keiren George can attest to). But on one night the stars aligned in January 2009, I was in a position where I would know everybody at the bar (because of residence), and hell I wasn't doing anything better so we decided to go to the Ranch for this drink special.
We pre-game pretty hard for the Ranch, show up, get a million hi-balls for dirt cheap, and have one hell of a night. It was actually the best time I've had at a bar, a good atmosphere where everyone knew everyone, it was sweet. The night was coming to a close and I was wasted walking out the door. It was at that point that my friend Matt Van Roijen ran up to me before I left the bar and we shared an exchange:
MVR: Dick, did you see who's here?
Me: Huh? Whuzzat?
MVR: Dude, the Sharks are here! The San Jose Sharks!
At this time he pointed towards the lineup at the door where I witnessed first-hand Jeremy Roenick running to the front of the line, looking at the girl taking cover, and saying "I'm a hockey player".
I ran back into the bar to see who else was there. I for sure saw Ryan Clowe and maybe one other dude, but like Abu the monkey when he saw the forbidden treasure in the Cave of Wonders, I saw my own forbidden treasure: Joe Fucking Thornton.
It was Jumbo Joe himself, there was no doubt about it. I would have recognized those sideburns even with a couple more drinks in me. Joe was surrounded by a bunch of people at this time, and had I been more sober I might have walked away. But nothing was going to stop me that night from meeting the best player on the Sharks. I tried to weasel my way into the crowd but made little progress. Blinded by one of my hockey heroes, all I could do was turn to the guy next to me:
Me: Dude...that's Joe Thornton!
Some guy: Uh...yea, it is...
I was intrigued at his lack of enthusiasm at first, but I assumed he wasn't a hockey fan. The guy then looked at me confused, turned to Joe, and got his attention for me. It was at this point that I got to shake hands with Joe Thornton and probably make an ass of myself. I don't remember it totally but I said some shit like "I love the Sharks man", and "I dig your work bro!". I left the Ranch that night on the highest of highs; I actually was so jacked that I tried to slide down a staircase banister and fell off and hurt my back pretty good.
I awoke the next morning still so excited that the Sharks went to the same POS bar as me, and that I met Joe Thornton and got to shake his hand. The first person I ran into was Matt:
MVR: Dude...do you remember what you did last night?
Me: Of course man, I saw the San Jose Sharks! And I met Joe Thornton!
MVR: Man, do you know who you said "that's Joe Thornton" to?
Me: What? No, who?
Patrick Marleau. Just the captain (at the time) of the Sharks. I informed Patrick Marleau that he was, indeed, sitting next to Joe Thornton. Just in case he didn't realize it himself. I then went on to explain how much I loved the Sharks. Fuck, it is exhausting being me. Game tonight at 7:00pm.