Tutorial on what not to say when meeting Wayne Gretzky

It’s tough to figure out the highlight of my day yesterday.

There was the Russia vs. Slovakia hockey game where Microsoft PR pro Art and I sat right behind the penalty box.

If I look a wee bit tired, I was. I’d been up for 17 hours thanks to my morning stint at the Today show.

I was able to stay awake because we were privy to an intense game and came face-to-face with superstar NHL players like Alexander Ovechkin.

I even caught Slovakia’s winning shoot-out goal in what was a huge upset:

It was my way of redeeming myself after filming an empty ski slope instead of Bode Miller.

The USA House was brimming with superstars today.

Shaun White celebrated his gold medal in the men’s snowboard halfpipe competition.

Then there was cutie pie bronze medalist in the same event, Scotty Lago.

Tony Dungy also dropped by. Not familiar with him? He is a former football player who was the first African-American head coach to win the Super Bowl. He is now a prominent analyst for NBC.

Impressed? Don’t be. Robin tipped me off about him and fed me all this information. Wikipedia did the rest.

Former Olympians were also in abundance like Scott Hamilton.

But there was none greater than The Great One. You may have seen him broadcast to millions as he lit the Olympic cauldron.

I grew up with Wayne Gretzky who spent much of his career playing for the Edmonton Oilers, my beloved Calgary Flames’ rival. He was the superstar we loved to hate, the one who threatened us the most and demanded our respect with every play.

And the man who Robin introduced me to without any warning or preparation on my part.

Did I tell The Great One I still remember when the Oilers beat the Islanders to win the Stanley Cup, their first of five in seven years?

Of course not.

I instead blurted out, “I have to confess to you I’m a Calgary Flames fan.”

He was taken aback at first but in a forgiving tone, he proclaimed, “That’s OK.”

There’s a reason he’s called The Great One.

Be sure to check out athletes’ bios and the latest Olympic news at www.usocpressbox.org.

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