From the backseat of my V, I’m a P-I-M-P…
Somewhere on the Eastern Shore of Japan Well I’m “finally” on vacation until September. I feel just like a regular overpaid NHL player. Paul Kariya and I are planning on taking plenty of road trips to explore this rock they call Japan! Oh, in case you didn’t know, Paul Kariya is the name of my little PINK Japanese car. I had to keep with the tradition of naming all my cars after NHL players. Coincidentally, the REAL Paul Kariya announced his retirement the day after I named him! He and I will definitely have some fun this hockey season wreaking havoc on the Asia League. I’m excited for that, but part of me is sad that my baby, Lynxie, is sitting on a driveway back in Toronto, and missing his Mama! So, let’s take a look back at the history of my ultimate hockey road trip buddies! Friends come and go, but my V’s have been the only constants in my life. Besides, my friends could barely keep up with my hockey addiction anyway!
Namesake: Brad Boyes
Destinations: Kitchener (OHL), Toronto (OHL), Guelph (OHL), London (OHL), Mississauga (OHL), Hamilton (AHL), Milwaukee (AHL), Grand Rapids (AHL), Cleveland (AHL), Toronto (AHL), Chicago (AHL), Cincinnati (AHL), Nashville (NHL), Toronto (NHL)
Bio: Oh, the Stallion Mobile, as he was sometimes affectionately known as. Boysie was the car that was with me in the formative years, and I’ve got a pile of speeding tickets to prove it. He got his name from Brad Boyes who was the headliner for my infamous Sexy Seven list of hockey players back in high school. A list that also included the likes of The Evil One, Stephen Weiss, Steve Eminger, Tim Brent, Daniel Paille, and Rick Nash. I had an eye for talent, as you can see.
When I think back to the Boysie years, I’m reminded of getting into all kinds of stupid, stupid trouble. Whether it was speeding, or doing some other type of shady activity, Boysie was right there with me while the police officer wrote up his citation. Aside from the odd traffic violation, and high speed chase (while being pursued by the hormonal Kitchener Rangers of that time period), Boysie and I had some pretty great times together. He was, of course, the car I learned to drive in. He was also the chariot that took me to Mr. One Timer that fateful (read: bloody) New Years Eve. Sick mems.
When I was 19, I was finally ready to move onto the world of hockey outside of the “safety’ of the OHL. I put quotation marks around “safety” because how safe is the OHL for a teenage girl, really? Boysie’s first REAL road trip wasn’t a hockey road trip at all. For some reason, my friend wanted to go to Nashville for her birthday. It had something to do with a high school obsession she had for The Moffatts or something to that effect. Either way, I was all about it. It was early September, and the whispers that the NHL was about to be locked out were growing louder and louder. Boysie had a lot of mechanical problems during our time together. This trip to Nashville, during the intense heat of the summer months, was also the time that his A/C decided to conk out. My body stuck to the leather seats the whole way there AND back.The A/C was never to be restored in his lifetime.
After the NHL officially locked out it’s season that year, Boysie and I turned to the American Hockey League to satisfy our needs. I ended up in Milwaukee, WI for no other reason than I had read that the Admirals were the defending champs, and so it seemed like a good destination. Not so much during the winter, I learned. One night, there was a sketchy “incident” at a local frat house. A blizzard just happened to strike, and Boysie, our only salvation, was trapped under three feet of snow! These are the type of moments I most remember about the Boysie years – intense situations of danger and great panic. I remember that night vividly, and how I was throwing my entire body up against his hood trying to get as much snow off of him as possible, so we could get the F out of there. For some reason, a snow belt like Milwaukee doesn’t have adequate plowing bylaws!
All snow blowing aside, the San Antonio Rampage were in town for that first game in Milwaukee, which was good for me because, back then, the Rampage were the affiliate of the Florida Panthers, and not the Phoenix Coyotes, so I got to watch me some Stephen Weiss that night. Sadly, Stephen Weiss was too busy being a dedicated hockey player to acknowledge my affection. However, there was this new player I hadn’t seen before in a Milwaukee jersey that decided to step up his game and entertain me. I had no idea who this guy was or why he kept staring at me like a combination of a deer caught in the headlights and a third grader with a crazy school boy crush, but nevertheless I was deeply amused, and still am to this day. But, hey, I’m not saying I didn’t love it! I actually remember my mouth hanging open every time he skated by with his eyes locked on me for God knows what reason. Oh, the great mysteries of life.
Aside from incidents with frat boys and hockey players, Boysie had been prone to a lot of bizarre freak accidents wherever the Milwaukee Admirals were concerned. There were countless speeding tickets, and even the odd collision. One night on the way home from an Ads game in Grand Rapids, Boysie hit some black ice and was completely thrown from the highway. Luckily, I used my mad skill to get us out of the ditch. The other beached cars were not strong enough to bulldoze out of all the snow, not like my Boysie. Another time, also in Grand Rapids post Ads game, I was completely T-boned while attempting to go to the IHOP to get some damn pancakes. Boysie had a sad looking game face after that, but you should have seen the other car. It lay shattered to pieces all over the road!
Boysie will definitely be remembered for the Milwaukee years even more than the Kitchener years. In January 2006, Boysie and I were off to our last Ads/Griffins game together. En route one of his tires blew out, and this put us four hours behind schedule to get to Van Andel Arena. Once we were back on the road, we were naturally speeding to make up for all the lost time. We couldn’t have been back out there for more than five minutes before we got pulled over, and subsequently ticketed. Luckily, I still made it to the game in time. A few days later, Boysie and I headed downtown to the University of Toronto campus for class as we usually did (when the mood struck and I didn’t have something better to do, like watch a hockey game), but only one us would make it home for dinner.
Namesake: Joffrey Lupul
Destinations: Ottawa (NHL), Detroit (NHL), Nashville (NHL), Toronto (NHL), Buffalo (NHL), Philadelphia (NHL), Montreal (NHL), Columbus (NHL), New York [Islanders] (NHL), New Jersey (NHL), Toronto (AHL), Hamilton (AHL), Grand Rapids (AHL), Kitchener (OHL), Toronto (OHL)
Bio: After the untimely death of my first love, Boysie, I found myself in the most difficult period of my life. I was a road trip addict without a ride. However, there was an even bigger issue in play, I was a student, and had no job, and, therefore, no money to buy a new car. Luckily, fortune would smile on me, in a way, in the form of my grandparents’ decision to buy a new car at this dark time in my life. They graciously offered me their old one, but not before they meticulously went through every possible car they could buy first. I must have gone nearly four months without a car. My grandfather actually died before they had made the big decision to buy the exact same car.
Finally Lupie made his first road trip. It was to a Sens playoff game in Ottawa versus the Sabres. I had deferred one of my university exams just to be in attendance that night. We missed the first period because we somehow got lost in Ottawa. This was my first of many failed trips to Scotiabank Place. I don’t really know why, but Ottawa hates me. I didn’t know what name to bestow on such an embarrassment of a car. I was toying with the idea of naming him Rev in honour of that first roadie to Ottawa. That year the Sens were using, “Rev Up the Red” as their playoff slogan, but the name didn’t stick. Around the same time, Joffrey Lupul blasted onto everyone’s radar after he scored four goals in one of his playoff games with the Ducks. Lupie seemed like an appropriate name for a car better suited to the geriatrics of the world than a 20 year old girl.
Strangely, for being such as lame car, Lupie probably saw the most action. After all he was the car that came along for the Mystical Six Game Road Trip, and all the Arizona Prophecy games. In fact, you could argue that the pursuit of the Arizona Prophecy is probably what finally killed him. Hey, at least one good thing came from that, eh? Yes, Lupie was an embarrassment. Arrivals and departures from hotels and arenas had to be timed in such a way so that nobody ever saw him. Unfortunately, one afternoon in Philadelphia, Lupie was exposed against my will.
It was the playoffs of 2008, the Canadiens were in town, and I was super excited to be back in the city of brotherly love. I was planning to go out for dinner before the game, but for some reason I kept missing the the exit off the highway, so I just decided to head to the rink. Despite the fact that I had been to Philly twice before, I had forgotten the layout of the complex. I was on a mission to prove that there was a parking lot closer to the, then, Wachovia Center, that didn’t require a pass, but alas I was met with a dead end. Well, it wasn’t so much a dead end as it was a ramp to get on the interstate. I hadn’t seen a car the whole time I was driving around the complex, so I figured it was OK to make a U-turn. Of course, at that moment a car decided to come down the ramp.
“Fuck,” I thought as I hurried to get out of the way before the car was close enough to be inconvenienced by my presence there. However, as the car came closer, the BMW logo became visible. “Shit, it’s a player’s car.” It was almost time for the gates to open, so all the players should have been there by now, but I guess you-know-who was too busy slacking off at home. I didn’t know who it was until the car proceeded to pass me. I had cleared out of the way, but as he drove past, he couldn’t help but sneak a peek at the idiot that pulled a U-Turn on a friggen highway ramp! Instinctively he slammed on the brakes, and stared at me like a combination of a deer caught in the headlights and a third grader with a crazy school boy crush. I stared back in amusement, but also with purpose. If I kept his gaze hopefully he wouldn’t notice that Lupie was a piece of shit that likes to crumple in the wind. The Flyer stayed there for over a minute just staring at me, but then (I assume) he finally realized that he was in the middle of the road and blocking, not only me, but any other traffic that should decide to see him play in that Eastern Conference Semi Final game that night. Phew!
Lupie eventually died of old age in the summer of 2009, which was a joyous occasion for me. Going into the 2009-10 NHL season, I had a brand new ride with lots of shiny toys in it. For the first time in my life, I had a stable car, and I was going to take full advantage of that by going on some truly epic road trips.
Era: July 2007
Namesake: Random Blue Jacket
Destinations: Calgary (NHL) – offseason
Bio: As you can probably guess, my babies aren’t always able to accompany me on my zany hockey misadventures. Visiting rinks like Phoenix, LA, San Jose, and Anaheim, for example, have required both flights and rentals to make all the Psycho mischief possible. My first time renting a car was on July 7th, 2007 in Edmonton, AB. Why I was in Alberta in the first place, nobody really knows. My friend and I just decided to hop on a WestJet flight one day. Who knew that Edmonton would be such a boring place in the offseason?
Finally, we were maxed out on boredom and decided we HAD to rent a car and head to the Saddledome in Calgary for the Stampede. Sadly, every couple in Edmonton was getting married that day because they considered 7/7/7 to be a lucky day. I suppose since it is the one day a year that stars Vega and Altair meet in the sky that it is sort of romantic. Anyway, a miracle happened, and one rental car in ALL of the greater Edmonton area became available via a cancellation!
Since, it was my first time renting, I decided to give this hideous green car a hockey name, too. In the spirit of the moment, I named him Columbus because the day before, at the West Edmonton Mall, we had been stalked by some kid who had just returned from the Blue Jackets prospect camp. To this day, I couldn’t tell you who the guy was, or if he ever made it anywhere.
Columbus isn’t the most memorable rental I’ve ever had. I’d say that title would either go to the Camaro I had in Tampa this season, or the convertible I splurged on in Phoenix only to have it rain the whole time I was there. However, Columbus is the only rental car I’ve ever bothered to name.
Another interesting fact. During my trip to Alberta, it was announced that my car’s namesake, Joffrey Lupul, had been traded to the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers were my team at the time following a lovers‘ spat with the Leafs back in 2006. Coincidentally, now that I’m back on the Leafs bus, Lupul is wearing the blue and white with pride. I’m starting to feel like I’ve cursed this poor bastard.
Namesake: “Arizona Prophecy”
Destinations: Toronto (NHL), Pittsburgh (NHL), Buffalo (NHL), Detroit (NHL), Chicago (NHL), Montreal (NHL), Washington (NHL), Dallas (NHL), Minnesota (NHL), Carolina (NHL), San Antonio (AHL), Toronto (AHL), Hamilton (AHL), Kitchener (OHL), Guelph (OHL), Ottawa (OHL), Niagara (OHL), Oshawa (OHL), Brampton (OHL), Owen Sound (OHL), Mississauga (OHL)
Bio: The moment I first laid eyes on Lynxie, I knew he would be mine. I loved everything about him, and couldn’t wait to get him on the road that October. Currently, Lynxie is 23 months old, and I’ve taken him all the way to San Antonio and back, and lived to tell the tale. In those 23 months, Lynxie has amassed over 60,000 kms, which doesn’t seem like that much, but take into consideration that I’ve been overseas for 8 of those months!
I experienced a lot of firsts with Lynxie. He was the first car to take me on those seriously long haul roadies, and those multi-stop road trips. Before him, I didn’t have a car that I could trust to get much farther than Philadelphia, but Lynxie was brand new, and could handle anything. He managed to make it from Toronto to Minnesota, and Washington to Dallas without stopping. Lupie and Boysie surely would have perished on those voyages. My mother even stopped giving me grief every time I told her I was planning another winter road trip. Clearly, everyone has faith in him.
I also lost my backseat virginity with him; also to a hockey player, just like my REAL virginity! It’s kind of sad that it took me 25 years to check that off my to-do list, I know! This was a pretty challenging feat as well considering Lynxie is a little coupe, I’m 5’9,” and this particular defenseman was not only 6’2,” but also recovering from a nasty injury. Who knew -12oC could get so HOTT!? *bites lip*
Speaking of hockey players, Lynxie had his first and (hopefully) ONLY accident with a hockey player, too! What is it with hockey always leading to vehicular damage in my universe? After signing a nice, fat, new contract with his club, this snipeshow of a player rammed his brand new ride into my baby while he was parked in the parking lot of a strip club, just minding his own business. I almost cried. It was the most devastating thing that I think has ever happened to me. I’ve always been ever so careful and protective of him. Luckily, the boy paid for the damages, but not before trying to “take advantage” of me in my distressed state. He failed, P.S.
Since Lynxie is still a baby, I’m sure there won’t be a shortage of misadventures when I get back to Canada on March 31. I plan to head straight to a hockey game from the plane before the 2011-12 NHL regular season comes to a close. I’m sure that you’re probably wondering how Lynxie fits in with my tradition of naming cars after hockey players. Well, after Lupie died, I was in the height of the Arizona Prophecy, so I figured naming the car after that whole hockey experience was very appropriate, and settled on the name Lynx. So, now you’re probably wondering why I would use a BIG, WILD, CAT to represent the whole Arizona thing instead of a coyote or something. And that is an excellent question…
Top Photo: In Florida with one of my many rental cars over the years. Prior to the Panthers/Bruins game that night.
Countdown to My Return: 260 days.