The Hockey Autograph Story
A few days ago I wrote the story of my favorite hockey card. I thought it only fitting to follow that up with the story of how I received my first and favorite autograph.
It was about 4:30 PM and I remember it like yesterday; the wind was chilling me to the bone. I was standing outside the players entrance to the Winnipeg Arena waiting for the Montreal Canadiens’ bus to arrive.
I had waited for this day for months This was the day I would finally get my favorite player’s autograph. I can remember how excited I was, a seven year old boy, with his dad standing behind him as the bus pulled up.
There were a bunch of other autograph hounds around me, but I couldn’t hear them or see them. In my mind, I could only see one thing…my first autograph!
As the bus pulled closer I could smell the familiar Diesel fuel exhaust as it floated through the frigid Manitoba air. I was starting to get nervous; I had never asked for an autograph before. What should I say? I know they have probably heard it a thousand times before, but today was my first.
As the bus pulled to a stop I could feel my heart starting to race and a lump growing in my throat as I tried to swallow.
It was time.
The players filed off the bus one by one and I watched, looking for my chance as they passed by. There they were, Larry Robinson, Patrick Roy, Bob Gainey, Stephane Richer, Chris Chelios, Guy Carbonneau, Bobby Smith, Claude Lemieux and I waited quietly as they made their way past the autograph seekers and into the arena.
I finally saw my target and, with a small shove from Dad, moved forward to greet him. I said “excuse me sir…Mr. Naslund, may I please have your autograph?”
I don’t remember him saying anything, he just reached out and grabbed my notepad and pen. As he signed, I stood there like a statue as if I had been literally frozen in that moment. I couldn’t muster any more than a “thank-you” as he passed the pen and paper back to me, but there it was…the autograph.
I still have the autograph in my box of Montreal collectibles today and it is still my favorite one.
Do you have a favorite autograph?
Image courtesy: Canadiens.com