Thursday, May 15, 2008

2008 IIHF World Championship - World Stars vs. Gazprom

There were no games scheduled today as part of the tournament, since they had planned some time for the two semifinalists from Halifax (Canada and Finland) to get back to Quebec City. On the other hand, a Legends game had been announced earlier this week for tonight. The game featured a team of IIHF legends (the World Stars) playing against Gazprom, the biggest corporation of Russia. The referees were René Fasel (IIHF president) and Paul Stewart.

Team Gazprom's best known players: Alexander Medvedev (Gazprom vice-president and president of the Russian club SKA St. Petersburg), Valeri Kamensky, Darius Kasparaitis, Vladimir Lutchenko and Sergei Makarov.

World Stars' best known players: Jim Balsillie (CEO of Research in Motion - currently looking to buy an NHL franchise), Ray Ferraro, Patrick Roy (playing as a forward), Esa Tikkanen, Glenn Anderson, Michel Goulet, Igor Larionov, Mats Naslund, Tony Granato, Vladimir Malakhov, Scott Young, Philippe Bozon, Doug Brown, Jyrki Lumme, Bob Sweeney, Mark Fusco, Angela James, Cammi Granato and Geraldine Heaney (as a coach).

Scotty Bowman, Sean Burke, Jari Kurri, Alexander Yakushev and Viacheslav Fetisov were also supposed to play (or coach in Mr. Bowman's case) according to the lineup sheet, but they weren't there. Actually, I heard Mr. Bowman watched the game from a seat in the arena. I was really disappointed to learn that Alexander Yakushev was not playing tonight, as I bought a card of him earlier this week after seeing him on the JumboTron at Monday's game! :o( As for the game, well it was pretty boring, but it was worth the $5 admission ticket!

After the game, I went to the back of the Colisée hoping to score some autographs, but I didn't know if the players had come by bus, since it wasn't a regular game... It turns out there was one bus in the parking lot and it appeared to be for the Gazprom players. Some players eventually came out and I got this card signed by Valeri Kamensky.

The players only came out to drop their equipment in the bus though; they all got back inside afterwards. As it happened, a private party was held for the players at the restaurant on the 3rd floor of the Colisée. I entered the Colisée through the North-West entrance and saw some players taking the escalator to the restaurant. I got Scott Young's and Jyrki Lumme's autographs as they were waiting for the escalator.

Once the players were all upstairs, the only thing to do was to wait for them at the entrance of the Colisée and hope that they were only upstairs for a quick drink. Patrick Roy came out early and signed for everybody that was waiting. I got him to sign a Colorado Avalanche puck, but he was using the same black marker for everyone and wouldn't switch to my silver marker for my puck, so the autograph doesn't show very well. I didn't bother scanning it... Scotty Bowman also came out early, but when the 5 or 6 people waiting for autographs asked him for one, he wouldn't sign. I saw him sign an autograph to some woman as he was about to get in his ride though, so I went up to him and asked him if he wouldn't mind signing just this one card that I had. He did!

I didn't know Mr. Bowman was such a tough signer in person! I had already gotten his autograph on 3 custom index cards through the mail, so I had figured he must be great in person too...

After getting his autograph, I went back to the entrance of the Colisée and saw Vladimir Malakhov come out. He signed the 2 cards I had:

After that I had to leave, so I missed everyone else, unfortunately...

No comments: