Took my five year old son Clark (yes, named after Gillies) to Mile One Centre here in St. John's to see the Bridgeport Sound Tigers take on the Binghamton Senators Wednesday night. It was his first hockey game. I had meant to bring him to a Fog Devils game before the QMHL team left town but just never made it down. I guess that's the kind of dedication that caused the team to pull up stakes to begin with.
Before we left the house my wife told me she was afraid he could get hurt but I told her not to worry. I could tell that she appreciated my anticipation for the impending father/son experience. She as much as said so with her parting words at the door “Don’t let him get hit by a puck!”.
At any rate we were pumped - me, because I was getting to catch the high flying farm team of the New York Islanders in action; him, because he was hoping for a foam finger.
The game started really well for me with the scoreboard showing the Tigers taking an early 2-0 lead. It started really well for Clark because the scoreboard showed us on the big screen.
After the first it was 2-1 Tigers. We went in search of foam fingers to no avail. Ice cream would have to do.
The Senators scored early in the second to tie it up at two a piece but the Tigers pulled ahead for good shortly thereafter eventually winning 6-2. All in all it was a pretty good game. The Tigers carried most of the play and clearly held the skill advantage. McLean and Comeau stood out for the Tigers with the former grabbing player of the game honors for Bridgeport. Blake Comeau, especially, was impressive from a skill perspective making several beautiful passes. He was a threat every time he had the puck. He looked like he had a little more to give in the effort category though and I thought he could have completely dominated if the intensity had been there.
Clark had a great time – eating popcorn, drinking juice, dancing to the music during play stoppages, and occasionally watching the game. He enjoyed the hits against the glass the most punctuating them with “Whoa, that was awesome!”. He also liked directing my attention towards the big screen to see who they were showing next. I, however, being the vigilant father and with my wife’s words planted squarely in the back of my mind, tried to keep at least one eye on the puck.
Sure enough, half way through the third, a cross-ice pass from Blake Comeau got tipped. Sure enough, it went flying into the stands and sure enough it went straight at Clark. Let me tell you, I’m no goalie; those things are hard to pick up when they’re hurtling through the air. But Dipietro would have been proud. With cat-like reflexes I reached out and snagged the puck. Catastrophe averted. Little boy (and marriage) saved.
As I looked at him with the look-what-I’ve-done-for-you-aren’t-I-a-great-father expression on my face he looked back, tilted his head and said “You know you have to give that back.”
Eventually I convinced him that he was allowed to keep the puck. It was no foam finger but he was pretty pleased anyway.
No good deed goes unpunished however. When we got home he raced in the door and called out “Mom, Dad caught a puck!”