Fans cheer at the start of the Canada-USA men's hockey game Sunday night. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
My life has been devoted to hockey. I love the sport more than anything else, other than my family. I have had many great hockey experiences in my life: I won the pee-wee U.S. National Championship with Oyster Bay; I won a Hockey East Championship at Boston College; I played against my childhood heroes, the New York Islanders; I played for Team USA at the 1994 World Championship.
But this past Sunday, I was lucky enough to experience maybe my greatest hockey moment.
The feeling I had while I was at the Canada-USA hockey game was unlike any of my other experiences. Maybe it is because when you are on the ice, you don’t really have time to take in and savor the experience. Maybe, as a goalie, the pressure is so great you can’t sit back, relax and enjoy the experience. Maybe it is because I am many years older and can reflect on the moment during the moment. Whatever it is, Sunday was a day I will never forget.
I had chills when I looked at the sea of red in the stands. I had chills when I saw all of the American flags mixed in. I had chills when I saw the emotion of the fans and the players after each goal. I had chills when American hero Bonnie Blair would high-five me after each American goal. We were lucky enough to be invited by the NHL and the NHL suite was an amazing place to be.
Scotty Bowman, Brendan Shanahan, Will Arnett, Seth Rogen, Gary Bettman, Cam Neely and my high-five partner were all in attendance. Some were rooting for Canada and some for the U.S., but it didn’t matter. We are all hockey people and that is what is important.
Everyone there had a great time (even the Team Canada fans). It was hockey at its best on the world’s biggest stage. I love hockey and I love the people associated with hockey and Sunday reaffirmed every feeling I have for the sport and its people.
I don’t know what is going to happen over the next few days. Maybe Canada and the USA will play again. Hopefully NBC will make sure hockey is front and center so every American viewer can realize what an amazing sport this is.
Whatever happens, Sunday was one of my greatest hockey days.
A native of Flushing, N.Y., David Littman was drafted by the Sabres in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft. He spent four years at Boston College before turning pro in 1989. Over the next 10 years, Littman would play in the ECHL, IHL, AHL and NHL (with Buffalo and Tampa Bay). The 40-year-old currently works as a producer for the wildly popular EA Sports NHL series of video games. Read his other blogs HERE.