Miracle on ice
A gift from the NHL at the Winter Classic
by Shelley Daily
Dave Queen noticed the work crews setting up for the NHL Winter Classic a couple days before the big game. "There was this huge event going on down the street, and I couldn't ignore it," says Queen, who lives less than a mile from Michigan Stadium. So even though he didn't have tickets, on game day he asked his son Ryan if he wanted to check it out. They bundled up; Ryan pulled on the "Zetterberg" Red Wings jersey he'd just received for his ninth birthday over his coat; and the two headed out the door. "We'll be back in forty-five minutes," Queen told his wife, Kirstin.
Queen took a photo of Ryan in front of a Red Wings ice sculpture as fans swarmed toward the entrance gates. That's when three guys in NHL coats approached. "Are you guys going into the game?" asked one. Learning they didn't have tickets, the NHL rep handed them a pair.
Ryan recalls the moment with a grin: "I said, 'It's a miracle!'"--and high-fived his dad. Queen says they were "great seats right off center ice in the middle of a bunch of Toronto fans." Even though he and Kirstin are Michigan State alums and huge Spartan fans, he says, "I love being here because of the university ... I think the stadium is great. It's always fun and festive, but at this game there were fanatics. It had the feel of a Super Bowl or World Series game."
By the end of the second period, the cold finally got to the pair, and they ran home through the deep, fresh snow. They watched the game's concluding shoot-out on TV in their warm living room. Then the Queens finished off their "miracle" day by cheering the MSU football team to a Rose Bowl victory.
[Originally published in February, 2014.]