When I went to the Hockey Hall of Fame and had my picture taken with the Stanley Cup, I stood next to it. I leaned in a little, but I did not touch.
I dare not touch it.
So when I was seated next to Lanny McDonald at the 2014 Calgary Flames Ambassador Poker Tournament at Cowboy’s Casino, and he pulled out his 1989 Stanley Cup Ring to pass around the table, I was hesitant to touch it, lest put it on, for fear of ruining my chance to ever wear one ‘for real.’
Well, we all know that isn’t going to happen and Lanny nudged me to put it on. It was big, my hands are small.
Lanny is such a great guy.
A warm, friendly ambassador for the team and a damn serious poker player. He cursed and cat-called with all of us around a jovial poker table before getting busted out with AA vs a guy trying to grab his jersey with T7. The 7 would make a straight, and Lanny’s day was done.
Later in the tournament I would get moved to a table with Sean Monahan. The 19 yr old rookie was quiet, polite, and an all-around nice guy. It was quite the experience to be sat with the greatness of the past and the hope for the future at the same tournament.
The Calgary Flames Ambassador Poker Tournament is a huge event. Silent auction items ran from an autographed Led Zeppelin guitar to jerseys from the NHL’s best.
At the end of the very boisterous night, the 9th Annual tournament brought in $420,000 for the Flames Foundation for Life; bringing the total raised through the poker event to over $3 million. Massive.
Once again my night ended earlier than I would have liked. After good play through the opening two levels, I got caught up when the blinds accelerated every 20 minutes and couldn’t catch a big enough break. I finished in the top quarter of the registrants, but that’s not good enough for bragging rights.
Sitting next to Lanny McDonald for 2 hours, however? Priceless.