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GUEST BLOG: John Cartwright: A truly Classic honeymoon…

guest blog by John Cartwright
edited by Jeremy K. Gover

When it was announced by the NHL that the Boston Bruins would host the Philadelphia Flyers at Fenway Park for the 2010 Winter Classic, my new wife Jamie (Twitter user name: @squirrelgrl) and I (@jackmac) instantly wished we could somehow be there. Jamie, a recently adopted Nashville Predators fan, has been a Bruins fan ever since her dad told her stories of the day he met Bobby Orr and got his autograph during a marching band trip. So, like millions of others, Jamie and I each entered our names in the drawing for the chance to win a shot at buying tickets to such a historic event. Like some of those same millions, we heard nothing and figured we’d  have to watch and cheer on the B’s at home in Nashville.

All that changed when I received an email from offering a package that included a night at the Marriott in Copley Place and tickets to the Winter Classic. I was super pumped just to learn that there was another avenue for acquiring tickets aside from the aforementioned random drawing and even more stoked at what seemed to be a reasonable price given that tickets were for sale on eBay for well into the thousands. Also, Jamie and I had previously decided to get married on Christmas Eve and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to extend our honeymoon to include a trip up to Boston to see her childhood team in a historic ball park. 

It was a done deal.

Because I’m now a Bruins fan-in-law I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that while I’ve done a good job of making a Preds fan out of Jamie (we’re STHs), there’s been some mingling of loyalties in as much as I’ve followed the Bruins a bit and have somewhat of a *cough* *cough* *man crush* *cough* on Milan Lucic. She got me his jersey for my birthday so I was excited to finally get a chance to wear it even though he ended up not playing due to injury.

Once we made it into Boston and got checked into our hotel we picked up our WC swag and headed to a bar/restaurant in the hotel named Champions where we watched the USA nearly upset Canada in an awesome World Junior Championship match up. All I can say about that New Year’s Eve night without waxing poetic is that the atmosphere there with nearly every screen set to the WJC amongst shouts of “USA! USA!” was something I’ll never forget. 

On New Years Day, Jamie and I threw on our B’s gear and headed out to Fenway. Flyers fans were buzzing all over the place like they owned it yelling “Let’s Go Flyers!” every time a decent amount of them happened to wander into each other. This is typical from what I’ve experienced of Philly fans regardless of the sport. Nothing against them… they’re proud of their teams. Anyway, I lived in Boston for 8 months a while back and one thing I love about the city is it’s subway system, commonly called “the T.” It was filled with Bruins and Flyers fans on the way to Fenway Park and it seemed that one could easily see the excitement in everyone’s eyes, the extra jump in everyone’s step as we rushed to the 2010 Winter Classic. I was giddy.

The newly married Mr. and Mrs. Cartwright at Fenway Park in Boston for the 2010 NHL Winter Classic.

We were given seats 5 and 6 in row BB of section 30-160 and finding them was a challenge. I wasn’t the only guy getting confused by the seating system for the lodge boxes at Fenway, however. The seats were right behind the net on the 3rd base line side and were just high enough that if we stood we could see almost all of the ice. The bottom boards obstructed our view of Tim Thomas‘ and Mike Leighton‘s respective skates so that we couldn’t actually see goals cross the red line. We also had to stand for periods at a time to see the action because the people in the rows in front of us had to do the same to see more than just the players’ torsos floating over the ice.

I won’t try to recap the events of the game. Instead I’ll just list out the things that stick out in mine and Jamie’s minds the most: 

* The roar of crowd as Bobby Orr stepped out of the dugout and made his way to the ice as the Bruins’ honorary captain.

* The B2 stealth bomber flying right over our head after the national anthem.

* The marching band coming out along with flag bearers for each NHL team. And yes a Predators flag was in the house.

* The dueling “Let’s Go Bruins!” and “Let’s Go Flyers!” chants that would erupt all over the park.

* Singing I’m Shipping Up To Boston with the Dropkick Murphys before the game started. 

* Watching the players emerge from their dugouts to take the ice for the pre-skate. No words can describe the uniqueness and pure awesomeness of that moment.

* Being totally surprised at how huge most of the players were from our vantage point. And Chirs Pronger and Zdeno Chara… sheesh!

The Bruins and Flyers face-off during the Winter Classic.

* Having decent seats for the first fight in an NHL Winter Classic between Boston’s Shawn Thornton and Philadelphia’s Daniel Carcillo

* We saw several little league hockeys clubs watching the game. Some got to play in a separate rink on the field. Those kids will never forget those experiences.

* Hearing Red Sox and Phillies fans unite in one glorious chant of “Yankees Suck!”

* Singing Sweet Caroline in a weird sort of 3rd Period stretch. 

* Wondering just how loud it would get in the park if the Bruins ever managed to put one in the net and getting the chance to be apart of the grand chorus that commenced with Mark Recchi’s game tying goal.

* Seeing Marco Sturm skate toward us with arms wide open as he scored the game winning goal in overtime. All the goals scored by either team happened on our end of the ice. How cool is that? 

* The little kids wearing the USA Olympic jerseys lined up on our end of the ice with their backs facing us a bit before the national announcement so we got to be two of the first Preds fans to know, officially, that Ryan Suter was named for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

* Back home while watching a DVR’d version of the game Jamie and I find ourselves repeatedly saying “Wow, we were there!” It all happened so fast that, at times, it feels like it was a dream. I know I’m leaving quite a bit of the experience out as there are just too many things about which to reminisce. After leaving a city with so much NHL history I can’t help but think of what it will be like when Nashville has an NHL heritage of it’s own making the city worthy of hosting a Winter Classic. It’s the only thing I can think of that would top the experience Jamie and I were a part of.

Jamie and I sit in Section 326, Row C and would love to chat and answer any questions anyone may have. We’d also like to thank Jeremy K. Gover and Codey Holland for extending us the opportunity to relay our experiences on the ever-awesome blog.

Oh, and one last thing… Go Preds!