Finally, I’m reunited with Lanny McDonald after all these years….

OK, truth be told, I never met the guy, but as the only man to captain the Calgary Flames to the Stanley Cup, he has always been an inspiration to me.  Alas, while I didn’t get the photo above autographed in person, there’s still quite a story behind this picture.

In 2005, I went to L.A. to celebrate my birthday.  This was a few months before I left Calgary, so I guess the idea was to head out there when it was still a relatively short flight.  Plus, the City of Angels is pretty nice in April–if by nice, you mean rainy and smoggy.  I mean, if you think the pollution in Toronto is bad, try visiting Los Angeles.  Not only did it rain pretty much every day, but everybody got sick from the smog.  Mind you, it might not be as bad as I remembered.   I suppose my virgin Alberta lungs weren’t yet prepared for the big shitty…

But anyways, we went on this bus tour one day to see the sights; Hollywood, Walk of Fame, Sunset Blvd, etc, and stopped for lunch in Beverly Hills at an upscale shopping mall, the Beverly Center.  OK, so they didn’t have foie gras in the food court (I remember having fish tacos), but it was still the kind of place where they wouldn’t give you the time of day in certain shops if you didn’t look rich enough.  That said, I managed to stumble upon a sports memorabilia store (I think it mighta been called Field of Dreams–but judging by the mall directory, it’s no longer there) that didn’t seem too snobby.  I was surprised by the amount of Wayne Gretzky Kings stuff they still had, even though he hadn’t worn their uniform in almost a decade.  Otherwise, I didn’t see too much hockey merch–not until I came across the picture you see above.

As I recall, it was behind a glass display case with some other things, though in my tunnel vision I wouldn’t have seen anything else.  I loudly called dibs, although there was hardly anyone else in the store.  The best part?  The label on the top left side of the plastic sleeve, which said:

LANNY McDONALD
500 GOAL SCORER

$40.00    $20.00

Not only did they hafta list his one of his career achievements to describe who Lanny McDonald was, but they’d marked it down to 20 bucks!  Alas, it was the best 20 bucks I spent on the trip–although the replica Oscar statue and Lamar Odom bobblehead came close…

However, by the time I left for Toronto some four months later, I had never gotten around to finding a frame for Lanny’s glorious moment–in fact, I didn’t even take the picture with me.  It sat in a box in my parents’ basement, eventually moving with them to Ottawa, where it occupied the same location for close to seven years.  It wasn’t until the weekend before last that I was finally able to retrieve it, and I didn’t get the frame until last Saturday.  Finally, after all these years of separation, Lanny now hangs above my TV.

Unfortunately, I think this is the closest I’ll get to seeing the Flames win the Cup anytime soon.  Damn you, Khabibulin!  (That puck was in.  Nuff said.)

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