I’ve said it before in this space. I’ve got the greatest job in the world.
For 70 nights a year during the regular season and then a dozen or so more in the playoffs I show up for work and am immediately transported into an electrifying environment. Seventeen or eighteen thousand hockey fans have paid good money to watch a game and have a good time. Rarely is anybody in a bad mood. There’s the smell of tasty food in the air, and all I have to do is sit down and talk about it while the pictures on the TV screen go by. Not bad work if you can get it.
About the only complaint I have is that I rarely get to go to a Sharks game as a fan. And I rarely get to sit with my children and enjoy the experience with them. Wednesday night thanks to the VERSUS network carrying Game Four of the Sharks-Nashville series exclusively, I had the night off. What to do? Go to the hockey game of course.
My 12-year-old son Michael and I decided to go all out. We got to HP Pavilion around 4:30 PM, parked and then walked up Santa Clara Street and checked out the dining possibilities. As we crossed the bridge over the “mighty” Guadalupe River, I told Michael the story of the night the Sharks game against Detroit and how it became the only NHL game in history to be rained out. It was the spring of 1995 and constant rains had caused the Guadalupe to swell to record heights and indeed become mighty. “With most of the roads leading to the rink closed due to flooding, it was decided to postpone the game”, I told him. “Cool”, replied Michael. That’s teen-speak for boring.
Along the way several fans stopped to say hello. Others wondered why I had the night off. It was still over two hours away from game time but you could feel the playoff buzz building in downtown San Jose.
Michael got to choose where we would eat. After checking out menus all up and down Santa Clara Street and San Pedro Square he settled on The Britannia Arms. Actually I think I kind of talked him into it. They have plasma screens with all the other early playoff games on, the food and drink is great and the place is jammed with hockey fans. He was really impressed when I told him that Owen Nolan was a part owner of the place. Nothing like throwing a little celebrity juice at a 12-year-old when you are trying to sway him.
After an hour of chowing down and watching the Rangers spank Atlanta, we headed back to the arena, got our rally towels at the door and checked out our seats. It’s the playoffs, so I sprung for lower bowl club seats. “Sweet,” said Michael. That’s teen-speak for “You Rock Dad.” I’ve always maintained that HP Pavilion doesn’t have a bad seat but I would highly recommend trying out section 114, row 11.
Our broadcast location in the first row of 215 is one of the finest in all of the NHL, but sitting 11 rows up from the ice is awesome. Even jaded broadcasters need to be reminded every once in a while of how fast the game is played. The seats were terrific and the fans around us were totally into the game.
I hadn’t been into the Comerica Club during a game in a while. What a party scene in there.
The lines were long for adult beverages and the mood was electric. Another perk of the job is that fans want to buy you drinks. Of course I always decline because once you let one fan buy you a drink, they all want to buy you one. Right.
Michael and I had a great night. The Sharks won, the game was excellent and the two of us had plenty of laughs. Just two hockey fans having a night they will both remember forever.
For Seagate Technology’s “In the Crease,” I’m Randy Hahn.