*title idea credit goes to @mserven, who tweeted on Saturday: “#H2H now stands for Herm 2 Hangover”
My voice is completely shot; vocal chords stripped. I am still exhausted from Friday. I woke up Saturday with an absolutely wrenching hangover and was completely useless for most of the afternoon as my brain tried to piece itself back together and I attempted to prevent from doing an R.S.V. while staring into a bowl of soup at American Coney.
I’m pretty certain these are all clear signs that Herm to Hockeytown was a rip-roaring success.
Herm made it from Braszil? And he’s real? Check.
The rest of us also made it to Detroit in one piece? Check.
No one got arrested or had to post bail? Check.
Detroit stomped Minnesota, ensuring that this wasn’t potentially going down as the largest gathering of GameWreckers in history? Check.
The Red Wings organization rolled out the red carpet for Herm and treated him like a superstar? Check.
The A2Y 19 converged for the first time in one location and Hockeytown Cafe (and the entire city of Detroit for that matter) was still standing at the end? Check.
Red Wings fans online and in person donated to Children’s Hospital for a total of over $5500? Check.
Herm got to meet his personal god Darren Helm, get his jersey signed, and receive a stick? Check.
I got into Detroit on Thursday, with Petrella, and we met with Serven, Hollis and Jen, along with TPL Mom (thanks for the sandwiches!) at DTW. I had a brief awkward moment where I debated about saying something along the lines of “nice to meet you” because, well, we already know each other. It felt like telling a college friend you haven’t seen in a while “it’s great to meet you.” That’s just weird.
From the airport we loaded up the #drunkbus, picked up a Helm jersey for Herm, and met him and Osrt over at the Joe Louis Arena for a tour.
Being able to tour the JLA was just awesome. It may be a shabby arena, and kind of a dump compared to the newer places, like the ACC and all that, but it’s our dump. It was awe-inspiring to walk past the walls where the championship teams and award winners are all painted on the walls. There’s a lot of white space left for more, you know…
Thursday evening we trooped over to Old Shillelagh to kick off H2H weekend officially. Sadly I don’t have any photos from the evening, but Jennemy has several posted on her Flickr, including a ridiculous one of myself and Herm in Sara’s massive Mathieu Dandenault jersey. I also got to meet the Triple Deke boys Brent, Tyler, and Fake Herm, and Sullyosis, all of whom are just as hysterical, if not more so in real life than online.
I have to give a big shoutout to my parents, who volunteered to man the door prize table and sell tickets for chances to win a signed Dangle Dangle stick, or Zata failed shootout stick, along with signed Eurotwin jerseys, the first intermission Zamboni ride, and seats in the penalty box for warmups.
I know I’m forgetting people, but it was so fantastic to meet everyone from A2Y and from Twitter who were able to make it out. From The Obstructed View: Chris, Petrella, George, Casey, Tyler, Matt, Kris, Jessie, Discher, Kyle, and other fellow bloggers Natalie and Brian, Sara Neuie. And so many of the 19–VooX, Okie Jeff, Anne, Lola, Baroque, Calquake, Osrt, Sullyosis, Andrew from Ann Arbor, Jennemy. The Tweeps–Sara S., Norm, Dena, Jenn, Amanda, Adrienne, and again, I know I’m missing a ton of you, and I apologize. There were just so many who I wanted to talk more with and meet and didn’t get a chance to do so, like Animal Drew. It felt like I could have had hours long conversations with everyone there.
What really struck me was when I met Kris from over at Snipe Dangle (I think. To be honest, it could have been Sara Neuie, but I think it was Kris. Maybe one of them can clarify this for me), and I said “don’t touch my dream with your dirty hands” regarding… something or other. Who knows, now. Basically I could have said it to either of them, because the point is that I could make that reference to anyone at Hockeytown Cafe that day and not be looked at like I’ve got lobsters crawling out of my ears, or not have to even explain myself. They just get it. Everyone just inherently understood each other, in regards to this Red Wings Nation connection. And I love that. We may have called each other fake friends, and people roll their eyes at you when you say you’re going to go meet a bunch of people from the internet, but whether we’ve been talking for years or only recently, there’s still a common thread between us all that brings us together. It’s indescribable.
The actual game was ridiculously awesome. After a less than stellar first period, Herm went up the press box to chat with Ken and Mick. I can’t even imagine what Herm was feeling when the Wings scored their first goal and he couldn’t cheer in the press box. But, maybe it was good luck (that, or Lola’s tinfoil hats), because the Wings just steamrolled the Wild after that point.
This was far and away the most fun I’ve ever had at a hockey game, period. I wasn’t even drunk–in fact I didn’t leave my seat once because I didn’t want to miss anything. But being at the Joe with the 19 was so much fun, I really wasn’t even able to give my undivided attention to the actual game, proven by the fact that I had no idea Backstrom had to come in for Harding in the 3rd period until I was reading recaps the next day.
I will admit, at the start of the game I was a little concerned that there was going to be a riot and that the pitchforks and torches were going to come out when the refs somehow thought that the Wild scored. The entire 2 sections we occupied leapt up and were emphatically motioning for a no-goal. Had that not gone in Detroit’s favor, then it’s entirely possible that we would have had to pay bail for a few of the 19. Thankfully, and for the sake of everyone around us, the goal actually was waived off. Other than that brief scare, and the absurdly awful second goal that Jimmy let in (right after the 19 finished singing him Happy Birthday, no less), it was a perfect game for Herm’s first experience.
After the game, Herm got to meet his personal god. David Guralnik has a very good photo of him shaking hands with Helm, along with a few others of Herm, over at the Detroit News.
After the game we headed over to the Town Pump, where I proceeded to consume a few too many Jameson and Diet Cokes, and a couple of Jagerbombs.
Which of course led to a miserable Saturday morning/afternoon. A mix of being hungover, plus just completely wiped out, I don’t think there was much of an active braincell between myself, Jen, and Hollis all day. We went to American Coney, in which I did not partake, and then wandered around towards Greektown and back. There was also a lot of napping to be done, in just a heap on the pull out couch.
Eventually we dragged ourselves up and headed over to the Emperor’s house, who so graciously invited the 19 over to the real Kukla’s Korner to watch the Detroit/Nashville game. Thank you so much Paul, for so kindly opening your home to us.
Halfway through the game we moved over to return to the scene of the crime at Town Pump and finish watching the game with some of the others who were still in town. It was much fun watching that insane 11 round shootout with Sara N, Amanda, Dena, the Scrappy Octopi, Sara S, Kris, Petrella, Serven, and Jen. I loved how more of the bar started watching and cheering along with us as it progressed.
Huge thanks to Michael Petrella and Rob Discher of The Production Line who really sparked the donations with their TPL pledges. I don’t think we would have reached our goal without your creativity and initiative to turn the donations into something as fun and interactive as the pledges.
Thanks to the ever lovely Greta and Jim for toting our sorry asses around on Saturday, and generally making the weekend all that more fun by participating in all the Shenanigans.
Thanks to Jennemy, Baroque, Lola, and Gabe, whose creative minds were invaluable, from the t-shirts to the website, to the awesome nametags and the tinfoil hats and Chief-on-a-stick.
Also major props to Ryan Michael, Christy Hammond, and Nicole Yelland over at the Detroit Red Wings for rolling out the red carpet for Herm and giving him the rockstar treatment. I can’t express enough the gratitude I have for them to care about H2H and make sure it was a successful and memorable trip beyond belief for Herm.
Thank you to Chris Hollis, Jen MacRostie, and Mike Serven for being cohorts in all this and for all the time, effort, and stress put into making this real. It’s been a privilege and an honor to be a part of this.
Herm, it was an absolute pleasure to meet you this weekend and get to share your first Red Wings/Joe Louis Arena/Detroit experience.
Lastly, thanks to the 19–notably Bill, who was there in our hearts (and on a stick)–for their willingness to take a comment like “hey wouldn’t it be cool if…?” and turn it into a reality. Thanks for your donations, both to bring Herm over, and to chip into the funds for Children’s Hospital. To Red Wings Nation, and everyone who participated or donated, Thank You. There’s no question that this is the coolest fanbase on the planet. With about $5600 raised for Children’s Hospital alone, and then the roughly $2100 to bring Herm to Detroit, Red Wings fans have donated an astounding total of $7700. Seriously, find me another group of fans willing to do something like that.
H2H has made me even more proud to be a hockey fan, and be a Red Wings fan after witnessing firsthand what you all are willing to do in order to make someone’s dream come true. You are all incredible.
Until next year, eh?
And all the TV coverage can be found over at the www.herm2hockeytown.com blog.