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My Hockey Adventure In Toronto Yesterday

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03-09-2013, 12:55 AM
  #1
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My Hockey Adventure In Toronto Yesterday

So as I said in our off topic thread on Wednesday, my fiancee and I were going to Toronto yesterday to go to the Hockey Hall Of Fame for our first time, and also to meet James Neal and Brooks Orpik at an in-store signing at AJ Sports World in Vaughn.

So now I'm back and I gotta say....the Hockey Hall Of Fame was a blast. My fiancee and I had alot of fun looking at pretty much everything. We must have taken about 100 pictures. Getting pictures of myself standing in front of the various Mario exhibits, or the display of the stick, gloves and puck that Crosby used when he scored the "Golden Goal" was amazing.

Of course the other exhibits for Howe, Orr, Gretzky, etc. were great too. Ditto for that broadcasting pod thing where you try your hand at calling some of the greatest goals in hockey ever. I did all the Mario/Pens ones and as for my broadcasting skills well....let's just say I'm no Mike Lange.

I was truly in awe in the trophy room though. The Hart, Art Ross, Conn Smythe, as well as the rest of the trophies just look so beautifully crafted and immaculately prestine up close. Plus of course we looked for Mario's, Sid's, and Geno's names on these various trophies just to see the inscriptions in person. Was neat. And of course we got our photo (of us together no less) with the Cup. She touched it...I did not.

The Orpik and Neal signing in Vaughn tonight was beyond awesome. Unfortunately due to some undisclosed (and presumably pretty petty) reasons Orpik cancelled at the last minute and as a result his signing with AJ Sports World will (as they say exactly in their own words on their Facebook wall ) "never ever ever be rescheduled." So it sounds like he might have pissed them off pretty badly.

"The Real Deal" Neal came through for us fans though and was as nice as nice could be. He's a very gracious and humble guy for sure. Not wanting to babble, I congratulated him on his goal against Philthy the other night and I wished him good luck for the rest of the season. He seemed genunely appreciative of the praise I gave him and even gave me a extra thumbs up ( right as he was just about to sign for these 2 girls) as my fiancee and I walked past his table to leave the store. He's a great guy for sure. I got two pucks signed by him, one of which I got him to put a "40 Goals 2012" inscription on. And my fiancee got a signed 8X10 photo.

The real kicker though was that my fiancee surprised me by sneaking over to a salesperson (while I was checking out everything else the store had for sale before the signing) and buying me a 100% legit and downright AWESOME 16X20 signed and framed photo of Mario with the Cup. So yeah, it was a great day for this Pens fan!!!!!

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03-09-2013, 01:01 AM
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great stuff! thanks for sharing!

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03-09-2013, 01:02 AM
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Very cool -- thanks for sharing. Sounds like Orpik is just pissing off everyone these days, eh?

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03-09-2013, 01:35 AM
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Originally Posted by shureshot66 View Post
Very cool -- thanks for sharing. Sounds like Orpik is just pissing off everyone these days, eh?
Yeah. Apparantly it perhaps gets better...

Now of course I don't know if this is true or not, but according to a person who posted under the Orpik cancellation notice on the Facebook wall of AJ Sports, Orpik "may" have been seen signing autographs outside of the Pens hotelwhere the team stayed last night before going out for dinner with some of the guys. And this was right around the time he was supposed to be at AJ's..for only a scheduled half an hour signing. Again I say he "may" have been seen doing this stuff as who really knows if the person who said this is lying. But judging how pissed the staff at AJ's were (as I overheard a few people asking them what was up about Orpik bailing), yeah I wouldn't be surprised if this turned out to be true??

Meanwhile Tangers was at Frozen Pond for an hour to do an in-store signing in Vaughn last night too. A friend of mine went and said it was great. I'd have loved to have gone too if the Tangers signing had not been scheduled at the same time that Neal's was. If it had been yesterday afternoon that would have been great.

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03-09-2013, 02:12 AM
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I live near there, going to see Letang who's apparently there in a few days too. Glad you had fun! Never even heard of this place until a few days ago, must be pretty new.

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03-09-2013, 03:47 AM
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Sounds like you had a great trip. i've always wanted to go there. everyone in my family except for me has been. all im doing this summer is going to vancouver for a week of golf lol. but sounds like an amazing experience nonetheless. pictures at all? Lets go Pens!

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03-09-2013, 08:07 AM
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Sounds like you picked a keeper.

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Old
03-10-2013, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by alcanalz View Post
I live near there, going to see Letang who's apparently there in a few days too. Glad you had fun! Never even heard of this place until a few days ago, must be pretty new.
Letang is where in a few days??? As both Frozen Pond nor AJ Sports have Tangers listed as signing in a few days??? Frozen Pond just have the Tangers signing from last Friday (March 8th) listed but it has obviously passed so I think you might have missed out unfortunately. The only Penguins that are doing signings in the very near future that I know of are MAF signing at Frozen Pond on March 13th and Mario doing a signing at AJ Sports World on April 4th. But of course, these signings will be private and not in-store ones for the public to attend like how the Neal one I went to was.

And which place haven't you heard of man??? Frozen Pond or AJ Sports World??? I haven't personally dealt with Frozen Pond but they are pretty much regarded as one of the best companies for signed NHL memorabilia. Just like how AJ Sports World, ReichPM, and Frameworth are.

As for AJ Sports World I had never heard of them until I moved down here to Kitchener but they are one of the best places to go for NHL merch and signed memorabilia and signings as well. Their customer service is top notch and super friendly, their website is easy to order from online and their store is amazing. Even though I've only dealt with them twice I'd highly recommend them. Whether it was my first experience with them (which was when I bought two signed Mario Lemieux pucks from them online) or now my second experience with them (actually visiting their store for the Neal signing and purchasing the Lemieux framed photo) I could not have been happier each time. They really go above and beyond and come through with downright fantastic products that not only are 100% legit of course but look AMAZING.

Speaking of which I need to get off my ass and post some pictures here of my puck collection and my new framed Mario with the Cup picture. Perhaps this week.

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03-10-2013, 06:00 PM
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When was this, Friday night March 8th? Before the Saturday game vs TOR?

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03-11-2013, 06:20 AM
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When was this, Friday night March 8th? Before the Saturday game vs TOR?
Yup. Tangers was at Frozen Pond in Vaughn from 6:45 to 7:45 PM.

As for the one I went to at AJ Sports World in Vaughn, Neal was there (and Orpik was supposed to be there ) scheduled to be signing stuff from 7:30 PM until 8PM. My fiancee and I got there around 6:30 as we wanted to check out the store, pay for the stuff we wanted to get signed, and get in line to get stuff signed as quick as we could since we didn't know how big of a line there would be or if Neal would leave right at 8PM even if there still would have been people waiting in line. We were out of there by 7:45 PM or so. For all we know Neal could have stayed past 8PM to make sure that everyone got what they wanted signed (especially since quite a few people were pissed at Orpik for backing out at the last minute, particularly the owners of the store), but since we were smart and got our stuff signed fairly fast and left before 8PM...who knows????

But yeah, there was maybe 25-30 people there at AJ's I'd say. The signing was very well organized and not chaotic at all. I'll definately be going back if AJ's host more public signings for Pens players.

With that said, I'd still love to know what happened with Orpik and what he presumably did to piss the guys at AJ's off. Especially since him signing will (as they said themselves) "never ever ever be rescheduled."

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03-11-2013, 07:40 AM
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Frozen Pond is normally a good place to go for signings before Toronto games as visiting team players often have visits there. Want to go there myself one day. Nearest I got was some mall a mile away.

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03-11-2013, 07:57 AM
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Frozen Pond is normally a good place to go for signings before Toronto games as visiting team players often have visits there. Want to go there myself one day. Nearest I got was some mall a mile away.
Don't you live in the UK Shrimp?? Correct me if I'm wrong, just with the UK flag under your avatar and all I wasn't sure...

But yeah I wouldn't mind hitting up Frozen Pond either. If that Letang signing would have been say during last Friday afternoon, we would have went there before going to AJ's to meet Neal.

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03-11-2013, 08:55 AM
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Yeah, I live in the UK but I was there (Toronto) in May last year. I was trying to go to Frozen Pond but I didn't get a free day so bought stuff online and sent it to my Uncles in Canada instead where I picked it up a week or two later.

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03-11-2013, 09:28 AM
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Le Magnifique 66
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Awesome. Lucky you, seems we both have GF that care about our Memorabilia stuff

We need to make it up one day, even if I keep telling her that her ring cost me a fortune she doesn't really care

BTW a pick of the Mario frame please!!

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03-11-2013, 09:38 AM
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That's a pretty great story. The only thing you left out was to thank Neal for the laughs when he abused Rossi last summer, and to encourage him to continue doing that as often as possible.

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03-11-2013, 09:49 AM
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That's a pretty great story. The only thing you left out was to thank Neal for the laughs when he abused Rossi last summer, and to encourage him to continue doing that as often as possible.
Yeah for sure. But I was shy and I didn't want to babble on. Hell I was in awe just standing right beside him. I mean let's be fair...this is James "The Real ****ing Deal Neal" we're talking about here.

And yes Le Magnifique 66 fear not....I will take pics of my new signed and framed Mario with the Cup picture. Will probably do that this week.

While I'm at it, I should get photos of my puck collection too. Especially since my two new signed Neal pucks have now found a nice new home right beside my signed Mario, Letang, and Geno ones. Huzzah for now having 6 pucks (although I'm sure there will be more being added to the collection soon).

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03-11-2013, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by MetalheadPenguinsFan View Post
Yeah for sure. But I was shy and I didn't want to babble on. Hell I was in awe just standing right beside him. I mean let's be fair...this is James "The Real ****ing Deal Neal" we're talking about here.
I know what you mean... it's easy to become a babbling idiot when talking to a bigtime athlete. Better you take the conservative road than the annoying fan who asks for 3 extra autographs, and extra picture, etc.

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03-11-2013, 10:12 AM
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Did you tell Orpik to gap up? Cool stuff, though.

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03-11-2013, 10:12 AM
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I know what you mean... it's easy to become a babbling idiot when talking to a bigtime athlete. Better you take the conservative road than the annoying fan who asks for 3 extra autographs, and extra picture, etc.
Yeah those kinds of people piss me off. I overheard one of those kinds of people ahead of me in line (and saw 2 more behind me that I just knew were of that ilk) and I couldn't help but roll my eyes.

Like I said I was in awe and a little nervous. I remember my mouth was super dry and I kept asking my fiancee for her bottle of water to quench my thirst before we went up to meet him. As the last thing I wanted to do was make a dry-mouthed, incoherant, spluttering fool of myself.

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03-11-2013, 10:34 AM
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Did you tell Orpik to gap up? Cool stuff, though.
Nobody told him anything. He backed out a few hours before the signing. The guys who run the store as well as a few fans there were pissed off. And rightfully so.

Hell I only knew about him backing out right before the signing because I curiously told my fiancee to check the Facebook page of AJ Sports World around 4PM that afternoon (to make sure that both Neal and Orpik would be there and that the signing was still at 7:30) on her phone while we were at the Hard Rock Cafe for lunch. And the only reason I had that idea was because I remember that they had posted a cancellation notice for Carey Price literally like 2 hours before he was supposed to sign in-store for them a few weeks ago. But at least they will be rescheduling that signing, unlike the Orpik one.

I'd still love to know what happened with Orpik and what he presumably did to piss the guys at AJ's off. Especially since him signing will (as they said themselves) "never ever ever be rescheduled."

Like I said before, I don't know if this is true or not, but according to a person who posted under the Orpik cancellation notice on the Facebook wall of AJ Sports World, Orpik "may" have been seen signing autographs outside of the Pens hotel where the team stayed Friday night before going out for dinner with some of the guys. And this occurred supposedly right around the time he was supposed to be at AJ's..for only a scheduled half an hour signing. Again I say he "may" have been seen doing this stuff as who really knows if the person who said this is lying. But judging how pissed the staff at AJ's were (as I overheard a few people asking them what was up about Orpik bailing), yeah I wouldn't be surprised if this turned out to be true??

Total dick move by Orpik to bail out nonetheless. I mean I didn't personally care too much as I was looking forward to meeting Neal alot more. But the fact that my fiancee and I were not the only ones who travelled to Vaughn for this signing from out of town, yeah...for the time, effort, and $ we spent getting there (not to mention the aggrivation of navigating downtown TO), you'd think Orpik could have spent 30 minutes signing stuff for us fans. It's not like he wouldn't have been paid for it. Personally I felt bad for the people (especially a few little kids) who walked in as we were leaving as they all were excitedly talking about meeting Orpik and getting their '09 Cup jerseys and stuff signed by him.

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03-11-2013, 12:46 PM
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Wow, awesome story. There's nothing like meeting the guys you cheer for up close and personal except getting hockey gifts from your significant other. Enjoy!

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03-11-2013, 12:51 PM
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Met James Neal last year down in the Pittsburgh area. He did an autograph signing for a benefit. My wife was 8 months pregnant at the time and was asking us some questions real quick (I guess my wife liked hearing a pro athlete tell her she looked really good for being 8 months pregnant ) and was asking us how long until we get him on the road to being a future Penguin

Dude's real humble. Just need him to tone it down when we play Philly...

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03-11-2013, 01:19 PM
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Wow, awesome story. There's nothing like meeting the guys you cheer for up close and personal except getting hockey gifts from your significant other. Enjoy!
And to think I got both on the same day no less.

But yeah I did enjoy for sure. We both did.

What made things even more special at the HHOF as well as at the Neal signing was that my fiancee was with me in both the pictures I got of me with the Cup and she stood right behind me while I stood right beside Neal.

I mean let's be honest, some guys would have been dicks and would have just left their fiancees/wives/girlfriends standing and waiting while they got their pictures of just them with the Cup or with their favourite player etc.

Me??? Nu-uh. Not only was that one of the greatest thrills of my life to visit both the HHOF and meet James Neal (in the same day no less), but the fact that my fiancee was there with me that day to begin with made it all the more magical. And what better way to way to capitalize on that magicalness than to have her in the photos with me. In fact I insisted that she get her photo taken right with me when I went to get my picture of me with the Cup taken. And I insisted that she be in the Neal picture with me as well.

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