Friday, April 10, 2009

Marian Gaborik's Last Wild Home Game?

First of all, we have a winner in the Funny Caption Contest. All the entries were very funny! We will definitely do that again. Here's the winner

"And you think you have trouble finding pads that fit!" by Robert

Congrats! Email me ( with your address to claim your prize.

My Gaborik Story
Sometimes being the director of DinoMights gives me the opportunity to some pretty interesting things and meet some very well known people.

Marian Gaborik is a professional hockey player for the Minnesota Wild. He was the team's first ever number one pick, and the only original member of the Wild still on the team.

In January of 2008, my wife and I were guests of the NHL to the All-Star Game in Atlanta, GA. We were there to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Willie O'Ree breaking the color barrier in the NHL. As guests we got to go to the NHL Skills Competition and the All-Star Game itself. Of course, we had a great time and cheered the loudest for the Minnesota Wild representative in the game, Marian Gaborik. He had some of the best break-away moves in the skills competition and he scored a couple of goals in the game. We were pretty excited for our hometown guy.

At the airport check-in we noticed an athletic looking young man checking a bag of hockey equipment. "That's Marian Gaborik!!!" we said to each other with the glee of young children seeing their sports hero in person, "And he is on our plane!!!"

Marian laid low. He didn't hang around the gate for everyone to see him. However, Lou Nanne, Minnesota hockey legend, was hanging around the gate. He was talking to someone about Gaborik. I actually had the courage to introduce myself to Lou Nanne. Anyway, we boarded the plane and Gaborik was the last person to board. I saw him in First Class shaking Lou Nanne's hand, presumably exchanging kind words about the All-Star Weekend.

We were totally giddy. We tried not to be the ones that say out loud "Gaborik is on this plane." In fact, I didn't hear anyone say it. Maybe no one else realized that was him.

Back in Minneapolis, waiting for our bags, there he was; just hanging around in baggage claim. "That's Gaborik," everyone was whispering to each other. Finally someone broke the ice. A five or six year old boy ran up to the fan favorite and said with stars in his eyes, "GABORIK!" Really it's what we all wanted to do, but we're not children so we couldn't do it. Gabby patted the young lad on the head and signed an autograph for him. The reserved Minnesotans didn't bother the star for anything else, we just thought it was cool that he was on our plane.

Well, there are all kinds of speculations that Gaborik, a free agent, will not be with the Wild next season. So tonight could actually be his last home game at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Anyway, I'm going to watch the game tonight, and hope he scores some goals, and just like a little kid I'll remember my moment with a super star at the baggage claim of MSP . . . even if it is his last game for the Wild.

If you have any stories of meeting a sports hero, I'd love to hear them on the comments.

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