Last Thursday, Richard McAdam was returning home from a night out with the boys, when his wife Tasha met him at the door. "Say goodbye to the cat, and grab your bag. We're off to Toronto." Before he knew it, Richard and his wife were on a flight to Toronto to see the Montreal Canadiens take on the Toronto Maple Leafs.
It was certainly a fantastic birthday gift for McAdam, who's birthday was the next day. But little did he know, there was a lot more planned for him.
McAdam, a die-hard Habs fan and hockey memorabilia collector lives in Halifax, but is originally from Penticton, B.C. His collection has a prominent featuring of two notable Habs players from B.C., Carey Price and Josh Gorges.
Until this weekend, I only knew McAdam online through a Canadiens Facebook page, and a Carey Price fan group. Over the last three plus years, he shared with us his latest finds and acquisitions of cards, signed items, etc to the point that the site that Carey Price.com named him as their superfan.
At the same time McAdam was en route to the airport, I received an email from Wess Perisa, a mutual friend of both McAdam and myself, who operates the Price memorabilia site. Perisa asked if I was available Friday night, and I quickly put two and two together.
After a day of touring Toronto that included the CN Tower and the Hockey Hall of Fame, Tasha made plans for dinner at Wayne Gretzky's restaurant. The couple were taken into a private room, although McAdam initially went to sit at a regular table.
Slowly the table for 12 filled in, and the guest list astounded the birthday boy as Travis Moen, James Wisniewski, Perisa, noted mask designer David Arrigo, and Price joined the couple.
Bill Jacques, another mutual friend who created the before mentioned Facebook groups also got an email invite from Perisa to make the trip down. "This is surreal," Jacques said. "I left home at 5:30, and raced down here."
Myself, my fiancee, and a few other friends rounded out the table. McAdam was in total shock and disbelief of what his wife, with a lot of help from Perisa, had pulled off. "I was trying to figure out who she had been texting the last few days, McAdam said. "Now I know why."
"So, we'll have to grab a pint or to before the game, eh?," he later said to me, in response to a decoy message I sent him Friday morning.
The group engaged in conversation across, and up and down the table in a variety of topics.
Price told us of the day he was drafted by the Canadiens in 2005, and the sudden swarm of microphones in his face shortly after, during the draft in Ottawa. That's something the young netminder is more accustomed to these days playing in Montreal.
Wisniewski shared his first day at the team's practice facility in Brossard, getting a ride in with Moen, and how he was amazed at the size of the facility.
Wiz then tried to scoop Price's nachos and got a slap on the wrist for it. "That's fine, I won't block any more shots for you," Wisniewksi said. "That's OK, I won't play the puck anymore for you," Price replied.
Moen then took some ribbing from his teammates after claiming that he once shot a puck "103." "Yeah, in Kilometres (per hour) maybe," Price added.
In the meantime, McAdam was still in amazement, sitting in awe and taking the whole thing in as Price sat directly opposite him.
As the dinner wrapped up, McAdam and Moen, who had his birthday the day before, each received birthday cakes from the restaurant staff. The Habs players then posed for photos with the other guests and signed some autographs before heading out for the night.
I met up with the McAdams, with Richard proudly wearing his newly autographed Price jersey, before Saturday's game. Still thrilled about the night before, he got his icing on the cake when he got to watch Price and the Canadiens beat the Leafs in their own barn.
Happy Birthday buddy! Something tells me you'll have no objections to Tasha's "Honey Do" lists for a long, long time!
Richard McAdam also writes on SportsCard Forum and will hopefully be joining us at EOTP as a contributing writer down the road.