Freeze the Disease Celeb Hockey Game
I’ve been meaning to post this – so I guess I can catch up a bit over the holidays.
Late October I played in the “Freeze the Disease” celebrity hockey game in Los Angeles. Thanks to you guys, we raised $11,500.00 to go towards cystic fibrosis research.
I was only in LA for 2 nights and I was pretty worried because when I got to LAX my hockey bag and sticks didn’t arrive. I had to have them by 12 noon the next day and I called the lost luggage line like 8 times to make sure everything really was on the way. My sticks and bag came on 2 separate planes – no idea why. But luckily, it all worked out and I got my gear around 11 am at my hotel.
We started the day hanging out in a huge VIP skybox at the Staples Center to watch the Kings play the Anaheim Ducks. It was pretty cool because in the box I was hanging out with a couple of the celebs. I talked up some wines with Jason Priestley (from Beverly Hills 90210) and his wife, Naomi. He’s got a 4,000 bottle cellar so that’s definitely a passion for him. A few notables also in the skybox were Alan Thicke (Growing Pains), Michael Vartan (Alias), Mark DeCarlo (Taste of America) and Bobby Farrelly.
Bobby is one half of the Farrelly brothers responsible for the hilarious “There’s Something About Mary” movie & others. Bobby was the goalie on my team and we talked for a few minutes there – I was interested in if he immerses himself in other people’s movies or not. Surprisingly, he told me he pretty much doesn’t watch many movies so that his comedy and writing stay unique.
The highlight for me was meeting “Mr. Hockey” Gordie Howe. Gordie is an absolute hockey legend and a true gentleman. This is a guy who played hockey professionally for 6 decades and widely regarded as one of hockey’s greatest player’s ever. In fact, Wayne Gretzky grew up idolizing him. Here’s his Wikipedia entry for more info.
About 10 minutes into the third period we all went down to the makeshift locker room (picture just a few drapes set up) to get changed for the game. I’ve played in professional rinks before when I grew up but it’s still a thrill to walk onto the ice in front of a few thousand fans.
I centered the second line with Maria Dennis from the U.S. Women’s National Team (1990) and Michael Faye, a noted photographer. The first shift out on the ice I took the puck all the way to the through the Defense and got a good backhander on net. I was thinking I’d make some good contributions coming off a 2-goal game the week prior during the University of Maryland Alumni game. But after that first shift – I pretty much did nothing noteworthy. (I didn’t even check Priestly like I joked with him I would in the skybox )
The only other semi-shining moment (that wasn’t) happened when I got a centering feed in the 3rd period from Faye and the goalie made a point-blank stop on me. Oh well, it didn’t matter much since we got trounced 11-5. We were missing a bunch of our ex-pros and at the last minute the other team picked up Igor Larinov, the all-star who retired from the Red Wings. I took 2 face offs against Igor and the first time he just let me win the puck without trying. The next time, I told him in Russian, “Okay, let’s go for real”. He was a little taken back and then we squared off for real.
After the game a lot of us hung out in the make-shift locker room drinking a few beers. I was drinking for awhile with Bobby Hull, Jr., son of famous BlackHawks legend, Bobby Hull and Brett Hull’s brother. We took his H2 over to Michael Faye’s studio a few blocks away for a little after-game party. That’s where I ended up talking to my new celebrity buddy, Mark DeCarlo. I told Mark I remembered him from a few years ago as the host of “Studs”. You might not remember that show – but you’d probably recognize Mark is you saw his mug on his site – http://www.markdecarlo.com/. He told me he’s working on a new show called “Tripping Out” which is right up my alley with cool adventures around the world.
Here are a few pics (I’m waiting on a few more from the organizers)…