Thanks to the Edmonton police, drunken oiler fans and a ride from a farmer in a truck that looks like has been covered rust for 60 years, I was delayed leaving edmonton and just arrived in Calgary.
I have been to calgary, so I know my way around. I make my way to the city center looking for a cheap place to stay. I stop by a bar on 5th street southwest, just looking for a quick drink. I grab a drink, sit down and realize Michael Cammalleri is right across the other table, looking pretty pissed off.
MattTheMascot: Hey Mike, my name is Matt. I’m a traveling journalist from Vancouver. Can I bug you for a few minutes?
Michael Cammalleri: Of course. Buy me a drink and I’m all ears.
MTM: What are you having?
MC: Cosmo, with two limes.
(I turn to the bartender, order his drink and grab myself a guinness)
MTM: Tough game tonight. Saw the highlights.
MC: Can I be honest with you?
MC: I fucking hate this team. I hate this town. I hate this situation period. Everything about it. I wanted out of here. I didn’t want to come back. I hate Bouwmeester. I want to stab that slow tree piece of shit.
MTM: Whoa, are you ok?
MC: I’m sorry. I don’t always mean the things I say. I don’t really want to stab Bows, I don’t like him but I don’t want to see him hurt.
MTM: Can I suggest something? Stop drinking that horrible drink and drink beer like a man. Have a guinness, I’ll get another one.
(Takes a drink, then slams half in one big gulp. A trace of the foam resides on his nose)
MC: Oh man this is great. Why did I ever drink those cosmos? I feel better already! I feel strong enough to rip a tree out of the ground!
MTM: I’m glad you enjoyed it. Have another one. Ill pay.
MC: I should warn you, when I drink, bad things can happen.
MTM: Like what? Like Hangover bad? Will Ferrell frank the tank old school bad?
MC: Keep on drinking with me and ill show you.
(I notice something about him, something looks different, like he is taller. And his shirt is tighter.)
MTM: Bartender two more guinness’ please! So Mike how hard was it for you coming back to calgary from montreal? Did you enjoy playing there?
MC: When I first got there it was fantastic, but then the fantasy of the franchise wore off. After a season and a half I was ready to go somewhere else. I am jewish and do not speak french, so the fans did not like me right away. I tried and they just spat at me. Dirty francophones.
(He slams the next guinness, and this time, I see his arm muscles ripple. His shirt stretches)
MTM: Are you ok? Somethings wrong, isn’t it?
MC: I told you, bad things happen when I drink.
(He smiles an evil smile. He grabs my guinness and again, grows in size. He has grown to about the size of a young arnold Schwarzenegger. He walks over to the bar, rips the beer tap handle and setup right off the bar, beer fountains into the air. He sticks his face into the spray of beer. His stature grows taller. His shirt rips and tears to shreds around his body. His skin turns red. Holy shit, he’s the red hulk!)
MTM: Fuck me, this isn’t going to end well.
MC: CAM SMASH!!!!!!!!!!!!
(He picks up a table and throws it into the bar. The bar empties and women scream running out the door)
MTM: Mike! Don’t do anything crazy now. I can be your friend.
MC: Friend? (His face softens, as if remembering, then switches back to anger) CAM SMASH FAT MAN!!!!!!!!!!! ARRRRRGGGHHHHHHHHHH!
(He throws a table at me, it shatters and knocks me to the ground)
Red Hulk aka Michael Cammalleri, smashes through the outside of the door. I hear sirens and sounds of a car flipping and crashing. Gunshots ring off in the street. A huge roar screams across the night, and then nothing. I pass out.
Sometime later I awaken to police officers asking if I’m ok. My leg is broken and I’m bleeding from head. I am rushed to the hospital but released the next day. I will stay at my cousins place until I am well enough to leave for home. I wonder if Bouwmeester is still alive…………
Thanks to a 24 hour snowstorm, a 48 hour headache and a 4 day greyhound trip, I have arrived in Edmonton Alberta. My greyhound was supposed to take me to calgary, but my bus driver decided to drink a bottle of lysol and we ended up far north. Call it fate as the Oilers the night before had played the Vancouver Canucks, I found a lot of people wearing Canucks jerseys on the street, helping me feel at home for the first time in weeks.
I found a 20 dollar bill on the road, so I went to go get something to eat. Subway was right beside where I was, so I took it as fate again to go in. Who but who do I see but Dan Hamhuis having himself a sandwich. I decide to reintroduce myself.
MattTheMascot: Well well well. Look at you.
Dan Hamhuis: Excuse me?
MTM: Are you serious? You don’t remember me? You have punched me in the face AND gave me a stone cold stunner. How can you not recognize me?
DH: Oh yeah. How’s it going?
MTM: Are you serious? Really?
DH: Sorry guy, I get upset sometimes and lose myself to the devil inside me.
MTM: That’s all your going to say? Do you know the hell I have endured since we last met? You and Ryan Kesler have ruined my life! You knocked me out and he put me in a box destined for Detroit! Did you think was funny?
(He smiles a little bit)
DH: I got caught up. It was the heat of the moment. I love that song. It could be more jesus-y though. Are you a man of the lord?
MTM: Yet again you don’t remember. I told you that I wanted you to join me in Satan’s service. When I was talking to Keith Ballard in Florida.
DH: NOW I remember you! I knew your face was familiar.
(I smack my face with the palm of my hand)
DH: You need Jesus in your life my friend. I can show you the way. Will you take my offer into consideration?
MTM: I have to make my way home because of you. Because of you i am broke and have been stealing just to scrape by. There is no way you can rub jesus onto me. You were my favorite player.
DH: I am truly sorry of what I did to you. Can I order you a sandwich?
MTM: I don’t think you understand what I am saying. I don’t want your help. But as far as I am concerned you owe me. I don’t want help I want payback. We can settle this right now. Give me enough money to rent a car back to vancouver.
DH: I don’t think so. I want you to leave.
MTM: Were in a subway in Edmonton. I don’t have to do anything of the sort. I should phone the police. Your lucky I love the team more than you. Now what are you going to do about this?
DH: Fine ill help you out. Only because I’m leaving for a plane. Were going to Nashville, where I used to play. I’m going to hang out with Shea Weber.
MTM: Shea weber is a better player than you, and I hope he comes here just to bust you down more minutes.
DH: That wasn’t very nice. Your a jerk.
MTM: You shipped me in a box to Detroit!
DH: Technically that was Kes….
MTM: Shut your mouth!
(I feel a strong hand on my shoulder)
Ryan Kesler: Remember me?
MTM: Oh man not you too……..
(I feel a blunt instrument hit my temple, I go black)
I wake up some time later, at the Edmonton greyhound station with a note in my pocket. “Sorry buddy, come by the church when you get back. I will make amends”. He slipped me a 20 as well as a card to his church that he goes to. The money in my pockets will only get me to Calgary. Hopefully this will be one of my last legs of my trip home.
Until next time
Thanks to a ride into Canada with Bret Hedican, a 24 hour snowstorm and a greyhound that I later figured out was part of a Canadian tragedy, I have found my way into Winnipeg Manitoba. A cold city, a grey city, home to the prairie fairies the Blue Bombers and the cursed Winnipeg Jets.
Once I figured out where I was I knew I had to get more money for my trip home. My wallet was thin, and my magic ruby was clearly not working the way it was supposed to. I walked by a local pub and a sign on the window said ” Hot Dog Eating Contest – Cash Prize”. Well stomach, I said, let’s do this we can win. I enter and who but who is my main competition, none other than former Canuck, Kyle Wellwood.
MattTheMascot: Hey Kyle, my name is Matt. I am an independent news outlet based out of Vancouver. Can I have a few minutes of your time?
Kyle Wellwood: Sure, nice to meet you. Are you entering the contest?
MTM: Yes I am in need of money, I’m trying to get home to Vancouver.
KW: Why would you want to go back? Hate that place. No one liked me there.
MTM: That’s my home man, its where I grew up. Not my fault that no one likes you there. And what makes you say that anyways?
KW: No one liked me because I wasn’t appreciated. I had moves and skills that no one on that team could match. Daniel? Pffft. Kesler? Boo-urns.
MTM: Didn’t Gillis like you? There had to be a reason he brought you in?
KW: He owed me on a bet. Guess what it was? An Eating contest! I’m a champ man! Can’t stop me!
MTM: Let me guess Byfuglien is here too huh?
KW: Of course. He’s been here for awhile now warming up.
(Sees Byfuglien slamming beers like a Dwarf from Lord of the rings, roaring like a savage orc)
MTM: Oh Man I’m in over my head.
( I sit in my seat. A bell rings. I am to eat as many as I can in one minute. I eat one and a bite of another. Dustin Byfuglien comes in a proud second place with six which he promptly vomits back up. But Kyle Wellwood eats an astonishing 33 fifty cent ikea hot dogs in 60 seconds!)
(The crowd of 6 farmers and 6 farmer helpers and one bartender jump for joy!)
MTM: Your fucking disgusting!
KW: You owe me ten dollars pay up!
MTM: Fine. (I pass it to him) What about old fugly there?
KW: He’s a big boy he can take care of himself. Let’s sit down and grab a brew.
MTM: No thanks. Did you know your Wikipedia page still shows you as a Canuck? Are you that ghetto that you don’t even monitor what people say about you?
KW: Whatever man I’m the champ WOOOOOO!
MTM: Ok I’m done now. I’m leaving I’ve had enough.
I see a wallet on the floor. I open it, of course its kyle’s. I take the cash and leave the wallet on the counter with the bartender. I walk out with $65 Canadian currency and 35 cents in Canadian Tire money. Typical.
Another greyhound awaits. I only have enough to get to Calgary so ill see how that goes.
Thanks to an ignorant flight attendant, an unpaid bar tab and a pair of really smelly socks, I have traveled from Chicago Illinois to Minneapolis / St Paul Minnesota. The home of the americans most likely to understand the Canadian language (eh), moose meat steaks and the Minnesota Wild.
The Wild are a
constant sleep source division rival of my precious Canucks but as I wander through the streets of the twin cities, I can’t see any fanfare or advertising of any kind relating to hockey. Cold and homeless, I sit on a bench on a busy street. I hear a voice ask me “Is everything ok?” I look up and see its none other than former Vancouver Canuck, Bret Hedican.
MattTheMascot: You’re Bret Hedican aren’t you?
Bret Hedican: Yes I am. Who are you? Not many people recognize me here.
MTM: My name is Matt, I’m from Vancouver and I’m stranded here. I’m an amateur journalist trying to make it, but its not going so well.
BH: Is there anything I can do to help? You look like you could use a shower and some clean clothes.
MTM: I appreciate your concern. All I’m trying to do is get home. I will accept any charity you can give, it is so cold here.
BH: I’m in town to see some family, why don’t you take my hotel key and have a shower. Its just across the street. Grab a few clothes and meet me at the starbucks downstairs in an hour.
MTM: Thank you, your the nicest person I’ve met here in the states. Ill go now.
(After showering, shaving and grabbing some clothes I go back downstairs and meet Bret for a coffee)
BH: You look better.
MTM: I feel better thank you. You’ve been incredibly gracious and I feel terrible for asking, but do you think there’s anyway you could get me into Canada?
BH: That’s quite a favor to ask. But I don’t think its too much of a problem, the border isn’t far from here.
MTM: There’s only one catch. I don’t have a passport. Or any identification at all. I woke up in detroit with nothing.
BH: Detroit? That’s a ways away. How did you get here?
MTM: If you help me, I will tell you.
BH: Ok fine. The border guards aren’t too thorough here. When we get closer to the border ill get you to hide underneath a blanket.
MTM: I cannot thank you enough! When can we leave?
BH: Let’s go right now. My cars outside.
(We jump into his car, a 2002 ford focus wagon)
BH: Sorry its not a lexus or an Audi, I’m a former hockey player turned analyst not a movie star.
MTM: Hey its all the same to me. I have nothing at all.
(I proceed to tell him my tale up till this point)
BH: Really Kesler did that to you? What a dick. He seems really nice in person. Well just can’t trust those michigan boys.
MTM: Yeah it was rough not gonna lie. I know we have a long drive still so can I ask you some questions?
BH: Go for it.
MTM: You were a defenceman for the Canucks during their Run to the cup in 94. What is your favorite memory of that time?
BH: I’d have to say the pure determination in the eyes of my fellow team mates heading into game 6 of the finals. It was enough to make you think the world was ours. Also the cocaine buffet was great pregame.
MTM: What? I wouldn’t think you guys would do that, especially pre game.
BH: It was all Bure man. That’s how he was so fast. And eventually why his body fell apart. Man that was a great time.
MTM: What else do you look back on from those days?
BH: Coming in as a low ranked team, we were the under dogs. We had an atmosphere that no one could touch. Everyone liked everybody. No team is ever like that. It was a shame it didn’t last, nothing great ever does.
MTM: What are you doing now?
BH: As I mentioned before I am an analyst. I mainly concentrate on the San Jose Sharks, who are in my honest opinion, a bunch of classless dirty pigs.
MTM: It sounds as if you don’t like them too much.
BH: I love hockey, and I need a job. It worked out in the end. No one in San Jose knows anything about hockey so I’m happy.
MTM: You won a stanley cup with the Carolina Hurricanes. How was that for you?
(He looks down at his ring, and smiles)
BH: We SUCKED! I have no clue how we got that far. More cocaine fueled rage I suppose. That Eric Staal guy could do more blow than a whale blows water. I guess it was a great time. Wish I could remember more of it.
MTM: Any thought of playing again? Coaching or anything?
BH: That’s always a forethought. It would be great to be in charge of a team. Not sure if I have the ability though.
MTM: Hey I see the border crossing. Ill jump in the back.
(Remembering my magical ruby, I set it spinning at the bottom of its chain. Its magic can allow me to harness peoples minds.)
MTM: You will not tell them about me.
BH: I will not tell them of you.
(I can see the glare of the magic in his eyes)
(I hop in the back under a blanket. We are allowed through the Pembina border crossing no problems)
MTM: Now pull over. And give me your wallet.
BH: What is this?
MTM: You have fulfilled your end of the bargain. Now I just need money.
(I spin the magic ruby in his eyes again)
BH: Here you are, its not much but…
MTM: Bret, it was nice meeting you. Your a good man, good luck!
I disappear into the snowy whiteness and bitter cold that is February in southern Manitoba. Ill try and get to Winnipeg. The wolves are out and a town is close. Wish me luck, ill need it to get back to Vancouver.
The Next Episode! It’s special! https://mattthemascot.wordpress.com/2012/02/16/fake-interviews-with-nhl-players-2-13-2012-kyle-wellwood/
Thanks to an ill mannered and foul smelling cab driver, a pig farmer and some other creative travel measures, I have arrived in my next city upon my way home, Chicago Illinois. Home of Hot Dogs, Al Capone and the nefarious Chicago Blackhawks.
I am deep within enemy territory and have wandered into a bar named Gibsons, where my favorite show, The League is partially filmed. As I’m drinking a nice frothy Guinness, I look to my right in a booth, and who do I see, but the newest Blackhawk and former Vancouver Canuck, Brendan Morrison.
MattTheMascot: Hey Brendan! My name is Matt, and I am an independent news source based out of Vancouver. Can I have a moment of your time?
Brendan Morrison: Sure I’m in, just buy me a Bourbon on the rocks.
(I flag down a waiter, order his drink but I make it a double)
MTM: I’m very glad to have stumbled into this bar seeing you in here. I have to say you were undoubtedly one of my favorite Canucks players of all time.
BMo: Its always a pleasure meeting people from Vancouver out and about.
(Waiter arrives and puts the drink on the table)
MTM: The pleasure is all mine. Tell me what are you looking forward to now that you are playing for your former enemy?
BMo: When I played for the Canucks, the rivalry was just beginning and we didn’t have the same vigor that these guys have for each other now. It was always more of a Colorado thing.
MTM: Speaking of Colorado, I ran into Todd Bertuzzi in Detroit. He always speaks highly of you. What do you miss about him being your line mate?
BMo: Ah man it was the bitches. They would line up for him for days. Bad ass italian stallion he was.
MTM: Your both married, with children. Whatever. What are you not going to miss about playing in Calgary?
BMo: Aside from the retarded weather, the country music and cowboy hats, I’d say Jay Feaster the Flames GM. Guy is a complete moron.
(I flag the waiter, I order four more doubles, this is getting good already)
MTM: What do you think can save the Flames this season?
BMo: Hah, a lot more than Feaster can do. I don’t know, get a better goaltender and throw away a very tall not named defenceman.
MTM: I think that might help but truth be told, I’d rather see the Flames burn in hell. Pardon the pun. I have to say, it hurts many a Canucks fan to think of you in that jersey.
BMo: Well I had a great time playing for the Canucks. But a change was needed. Especially for Bert. Damn asshole.
MTM: Whoa I thought you guys were tight?
BMo: Whatever that fuckin guy ruined a good thing. (Grabs a drink, downs it) The three of us were awesome. And he ruined it.
MTM: Its ok man, things happen. We just have to accept and move on. What would you like to see when you get to Vancouver tomorrow for the game?
BMo: Oh man I would love some BC Greenery. If you know what I’m saying. I miss that stuff.
MTM: You know weed is a banned substance in hockey and also illegal in both the US and Canada. How much do you smoke?
BMo: Oh man Ryan Kesler and I, over the summer, smoked almost an ounce in one day. It was EPIC.
MTM: What else have you done that might be considered “Not on the books”? I swear I won’t tell anyone.
(He grabs a drink in each hand, slams one then another)
BMo: Hey wait….. Just a minute……… I’ve seen you before?
MTM: Brendan its me Matt, I’ve been talking to you for the last few minutes.
BMo: I don’t like you. Your trying to get me into trouble aint yee………
MTM: You don’t have to talk and act like a pirate. I see you shouldn’t be drinking bourbon.
BMo: Why don’t I order…. you a glass of shut the fuck up?
MTM: I think you need to go home.
(He grabs the last drink, downs it right away)
BMo: I don’t have a home!
(He starts to cry, profusely)
MTM: Barkeep! Can you phone this guy a taxi? Ill pay for his drinks.
BMo: Will you be my friend?
MTM: Of course, of course.
Man Chicago is a crazy place. I need to get home. I tried to sneak on the plane with the Blackhawks, but Jonathan Toews isn’t even looking at my magic ruby. Ill just have to keep getting home via any other means. I cannot fly legally either, not having a passport.
Next stop is Minnesota. Maybe I can find more sympathy there. Not likely, seeing how its the home of super intelligent individuals such as Keith Ballard and Andrew Alberts.
Until next time………………
Pictures courtesy www.nhl.com