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Storytime With Harry Gagnon

Storytime With Harry Gagnon

Harry vs Winnipeg Jets Head Coach Paul Maurice

April 1, 2014

It was a regular-season game between the Jets and the Coyotes in Glendale, Arizona where Jets head coach Paul Maurice and I butted heads.

Me and a buddy have season tickets right behind the visiting bench and for years have tried to bring a home team flair against the visiting foe. These seats are right behind where the visiting head coach stands and the only thing separating us is that big piece of clear Plexiglas.

Between the pieces of Plexiglas is about a quarter of an inch of space so if you yell or scream, the opposing coach and players can hear what you say, no matter how loud it is in the arena.

So as for the game, Winnipeg opened the scoring with a goal by Andrew Ladd (his 23rd on the season) and assisted by Bryan Little. The Coyotes tied it up shortly, so I was giving it to Maurice through the crack in the glass pretty good.

The game ends up tied at 1 and goes to overtime. At this point I have had a “couple” of cocktails and I’m riding Maurice hard and in fact at one point he gave me a smirk and then focused back on the overtime session. In overtime, no goal was scored so now we were headed to a shootout.

One of the benefits to having these seats is actually seeing what the coaches say and do. In overtime, the head coach must give the head official a slip with the names of the players he decides on to participate in the shootout.

When Maurice was making out his slip, I bellowed everything from, “Those guys are losers,” to “You call yourself a head coach, those guys f***ing suck,” and “I’m a better skater than those chumps.”

So as soon as Maurice handed the official his slip, he turned around and had enough of me and looked me up and down trying to come up with something to say. I did have some “loud” plaid shorts on with like 18 different colors and he couldn’t help himself but to say to me: “Nice f***ing shorts.”

My buddy and I couldn’t believe what we had heard and started laughing that I had gotten under his skin so much. The shootout started and Maurice had picked Ladd, Little and Blake Wheeler to shoot for Winnipeg. Needless to say, Maurice made the right call and the Jets won the shootout.

What makes this story really great was that the second the Jets won, he turned right around and just looked straight at me and at that point all I could do is nod (basically telling him that he got me) and he then smiled and we actually both raised our fists and gave each other a fist bump through the glass.

I thought that was extremely cool of him as I tried to be a home team influence type of fan and he appreciated it. Now if they had lost, it might have went another way but it didn’t and Maurice is a fair, fun head coach.