Wednesday, November 17, 2010
My Encounter With... Rick Nash
The Date: May 29, 2004.
The Place: The Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto for a Blink 182 concert.
How It Happened: I remember standing on the lawn with five or six of my friends listening to the set, when I saw someone walking on the path in front of me. I wasn’t positive, but I could have sworn Rick Nash just walked by us. I told the only two people with us who could have known who he was, and we made our move for confirmation. Just as we were getting close to him, he and one of his buddies joined a mosh-pit taking place on the grassy hill. We looked at each other, and without hesitation, joined in. I was 16 then and probably weighed about a buck-60 and change while my friend to the left was a generous 120. Rick Nash was a 6’3, 190lbs beast of a 19-year-old. I remember that mosh pit being a war, but nobody was going to stop me from getting a bodycheck in on the NHL’s leading goal scorer that year.
Never taking my eyes off Rick who was being protected in a bearhug by one of his friends, I kept my head up to avoid and also to hit some punk teenagers with green hair - then I saw my opening. Rick’s friend (visibly intoxicated) needed a break from protection services, and Rick continued to bounce around in the circle. I made my run and went shoulder to shoulder with Rick Nash. It didn’t hurt, and I wonder if he even felt me, but I had just taken a healthy run at Rick Nash. Fearing death, I immediately booked it out of the pit to find my friends who shared similar stories of throwing a blindside hit on Rick Nash (now illegal).
We found a friend with a camera and went off to search for Rick Nash again, hoping for a memento in which I could bring up 6 years later in a hockey blog (foreshadowing). Nash had just led the lead in scoring as a 19-year-old with 41 goals (sharing with Iginla and Kovalchuk), and I knew I couldn’t miss this photo op, knowing that his future would be very bright. I saw him nodding his head to the music and tapped him on his massive shoulders and asked if we could get a picture with him.
“Sure bud” he replied.
After the picture, I shook his baseball mitt sized hand and told him how I felt about his exemption from the World Cup of Hockey roster being held that summer (seriously, Kris Draper? Kirk Maltby?).
“Gretzky’s nuts for leaving you off Team Canada.”
Rick chuckled and said, “Thanks man, would have loved to made the team.”
We both knew he would make Team Canada one day, and he did.
We left Rick to enjoy the music, and went home high on excitement of meeting the NHL’s leading goal scorer at a Blink 182 concert.
I still call him a friend to this day (where’s the picture of us hanging, Rick?), and love sharing the story of when I took a run at Rick Nash.
Posted by Dirty Dangle at 7:39 AM