They went through snow.
They went through wind.
They waited better than a year.
Finally, on New Year’s Eve in picturesque Ann Arbor, Michigan, Will and Lisa’s travelling road show hit their destination.
When the lockout scuttled last year’s Winter Classic, few fans were more disappointed than Will Milne.
Will, 24, a Leaf fan and an alumni from Queen’s, had managed to acquire a block of 40 tickets to the game. At the time MLSE employee Lisa McLaughlin, was working in ticketing. She made the deal possible. The two are friends and the idea of a rolling road trip that included a load of Queens alumni as well as hangers on from lesser schools seemed a natural fit.
Then the lockout happened. “We were obviously upset,” said Will, “but a funny thing happened. We all stayed in touch.”
What could have been a one off became a two-off. Many of the participants met for a New Year ‘s Party. There was a Facebook page promoting the longer than anticipated wait for the Winter Classic. The company that orginally booked the two Ann Arbour homes not only refunded the deposit but set up two more houses for this time around.
In short, more anticipation meant more fun when the event finally arrived.
“We knew it was going to be great,” said Dave Gillies, a personal trainer by day and a Leaf fan by passion. “The extra waiting only made it more greater.”
“It kept the relationships going over the winter,” said Will. “Having to wait a little longer in a funny way gave us more to look forward to.”
“Hard to believe,” said Lisa, “but I think it’s going to be even more fun for having waiting this long for it.”