Denis, a friend of mine at Delta Air Lines lived next door to Bob Hartley. Bob, at the time, was the head coach for the Atlanta Thrashers national hockey team. Denis kept mentioning that if we ever wanted to go see a hockey game in Atlanta, he’d reach out to Bob and possibly let us visit their facilities. Round up a few Delta friends and away we go.
We pick January 18, 2007; Atlanta Thrashers host the Montreal Canadiens.
One greatest benefit working for Delta Air Lines was the fact that we can freely travel anywhere in the world. I was very lucky in having many friends at work that shared the same enjoyment in flying. In fact the best 21 years of my life were working for Delta Air Lines.
Angelo calls Mr.Bob Hartley and announces our arrival. Directions are given that at game day, we enter via a side door at the Philips Center. He would meet us there and supply us with a full “Press Pass”. Basically a press pass allows us to visit any part of the arena from the press box to the teams dressing room. This was going to be a thrill.
After a quick breakfast, we head to the arena and as planned, Bob Hartley welcomes us. A true gentleman, he gives us a tour of the arena, the dressing rooms, his office and introduces us to several players that were suiting up for their pre-game morning practice. It seemed so weird that their normal working day involves playing hockey. As Bob had to work on his practice plan, he allowed us to roam around and take photos.
Practice was over and as we had plenty of time before game time, we decided to visit the CNN head quarters. Very interesting complex with full of history of major life events they have covered. We even see a Rover that was used for reporters during the Gulf War.
Game time rolls around, fans are slowly trickling in and teams are out for their pre game skate. With our great seats and press pass, we walk around with no borders.
During the second intermission we decide to go to the press box and see all the commentators. As luck has it, when the elevator door opens, I end up meeting Laura, Anna’s cousin. What a small world.
The Canadiens won that game 4 to 1.