Okay, time for a new obsession

Yesterday, my friend Paige took me to Madison Square Garden for my third lifetime NHL game.

I had told her I really wanted a puck, so we got there in time for warmups–but she warned me that pucks are tough and that I shouldn’t assume I’d get one.

I assumed.

But she was right. It wasn’t a puck-rich environment. The entire warmup session lasted just 15 minutes, and the players were busy warming up–what a concept!–as opposed to all the standing around and interacting that takes place during batting practice.


We were on the Devils’ side because, to put it lightly, Paige is frighteningly obsessed with the Devils. Fine by me. There were fewer fans, and anyway, it’s not like I was there to see the Rangers. I couldn’t even name anyone on the Rangers…except Jagr, whose first name I still can’t spell. I knew a couple guys on the Devils just from hearing Paige talk about them, and she helped me identify the rest as they skated by.

It’s funny. For several days, I knew I’d be going to this game, and for several days, I’d been fantasizing about getting a puck–and yet I did nothing to increase my chances. I didn’t buy a Devils hat or even print their roster, basic strategies for baseball games that certainly would’ve helped here. Because I didn’t look around and study the nooks and crannies, some other guy was able to come from behind me and snatch a puck that got caught in the protective netting right above the plexi-glass.

That really pissed me off, so I started shouting at every player for a puck. No way I was gonna get shut out after wasting such an easy opportunity.

Of course, Paige first had to identify them for me.

“What’s Pandolfo’s first name?!”

“What about Ahonen?!”


“Also Scott?!”

“Scott!!!” I shouted before he had a chance to skate away. “Can I have a puck?!”

I felt like an idiot asking for pucks because I was the only one asking, and the players weren’t responding. This was the first time I’d ever been to warmups. I didn’t know what was appropriate, or if the players even gave pucks away, but Paige was encouraging me. In this case, however, a loose puck happened to slide over to Gomez just as I’d made my request. He grabbed it and turned around and flipped it over the glass right to me–my first NHL puck!


It was wet and ice cold. That shouldn’t have been a surprise, but it was. The logo was partially worn off, but Paige and I were able to make out most of the lettering, starting with “OFFICIAL PRACTICE PUCK” at the top. I was absolutely psyched.


Warmups ended a few minutes later, and Paige led the way to our “limited view” seats in the top deck, limited because we had to lean all the way forward to see over the railing in the front row.


I had a million questions, mostly about the rules, and Paige answered them all. The game was totally entertaining, at least for me. Unfortunately for Paige, the Devils lost, 3-2, on a sudden death shootout. (Such violence.)


Scottgomez• CPP = 27.00

• 3 lifetime games

• 1 puck

• 0.33 pucks per game

• 1 consecutive game with at least 1 puck

• 1 total puck moves me ahead of some schmo and into 10,000th place on the all-time goals list.

I’m on my way…


  1. devsjunkie@hotmail.com

    This Paige person sounds pretty cool. I think she thinks you went to warmups because she likes going to warmups, though.

    OK, in the background while I’m typing this is VH-1 and the song is “Some Guys Have All the Luck.” Now I detest Rod Stewart, but this a sentiment apt for this post.

    That puck was all symmetry. You were across from him, as the puck glanced into his glove, you called for it and he tossed it over… really, I don’t think it could happen that way again in a million years.

    But congrats. Let me go find my puck now. Here it is…and I was right, it does say In Glas Co (the same words around the rim).

    Are you still clutching said puck or is it in the deep freeze?

  2. Julie

    Nice job!!!! Scott Gomez is a good player, so do know you didnt get a puck from some average Joe!

    Too bad the Devs lost. Cause the Rangers lead the Atlantic Division, 2 ahead of the Flyers, and the Devs are 2 behind Philly.

    And Im a Flyers fan.


    And for the record, the guy on the Rangers name is Jaromir Jagr!

    Rock on!

    :) Julie

  3. Zack

    This Paige character IS cool. Good call. As for the puck, I’ve had it sitting out until this very second. Now it’s in my freezer, nestled safely in its natural habitat.


    Thanks. I’m glad to know that the puck came from someone worthwhile. I like that Gomez is young (1979) because he’ll be around for a while. Jar-O-mir. Right.


    Food? I don’t know. I’ve been to one NFL game in my life (2004 Giants) and two NBA games (both Knicks, one in the 80s and one in the 90s), and I was pretty bored. It seems that tennis balls would be easier to snag than basketballs or footballs, but who really wants a tennis ball?


    The puck remains unmarked. Until I get a second one, it’ll be easy to remember.


    Well said.

  4. Zack

    I must share the following e-mail that a friend just sent…

    “When I was eight years old I was hit in the head with a puck flipped into the seats during warm-ups. I vividly remember all the fans scrambling around me to get the puck and knocking me over. As I started to realize what happened, the tears started flowing…. That ended my career in shagging pucks.”

  5. ramones18@cox.net

    hey Zach, just to let you know i caught a puck by sergei fedorov of the ducks before, and he also signed a different puck of mine, i will send you an email of pics with both, great job with ur first pucks, my hometown ducks are my team

  6. Julie

    I just missed getting a puck at my first game. Jon Sim of the Flyers saw I wanted one, so he flipped it, but it bounced off the glass and he saw it and didnt really attempt to get it over to me before he skated off the ice. But I know its a matter of time before I get a puck too. I couldnt even consider going to the other side to ask the opposing team for a puck. I was all decked out in Flyers gear!


  7. Zack

    Whoops. Bigtime delayed reply. My apologies. Sorry about the bad puck flip. I *hate* it when a player throws me a ball and misses. But I just read your more recent comment, and it seems like you’re doing okay for yourself…

  8. gregorybarasch@yahoo.com

    I once caught a football at an Arena Football League game. It’s cool. That’s all I have to say.

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