How We Met
I remember it clearly. It was December 30, 2009 and the Boston Bruins were hosting the Atlanta Thrashers. It was my second game as a Boston Bruins marketing and promotions intern and I was excited to be part of such a great organization and land my dream internship. I just didn’t know I would end up meeting my dream girl and my future wife on the same exact night.
As a man who always likes to be at least 5 minutes early to anything, I arrived at the escalator at section 4/5 at approximately 5:45pm (5 minutes ahead of my 5:50 “call time”) that evening eager to take on my first task of the night- handing out game day rosters to fans excited to pour in the gates and see their beloved Boston Bruins play.
About ten minutes later at 5:55pm (yes their call time was 5:50 as well) three of the Boston Bruins Ice Girls came walking to the escalator at section 4/5 to assist the lonely intern. As a quiet and shy young lad I was just hoping the Ice Girls would acknowledge my presence and wouldn’t pick on the new guy too bad.
But in true Niki fashion she arrived to the escalator and with her bubbly personality and contagious smile made it a point to introduce herself to me (although maybe it was just so I would hold her phone, lip gloss, and schedule for the night while she passed out rosters). In just the very brief time meeting and working with her that night I knew Niki was a very special girl and was someone I wanted to get to know more.
Even though we both worked the majority of the home games our paths somehow didn’t cross again until mid-February. This time it was coincidentally outside of the comfort of the TD Garden- it was at a local Boston drinking establishment that we both happened to be at that night with separate groups of friends. I of course recognized Niki and a few of her Ice Girl friends as soon as they walked in the bar and Niki eventually realized that I was a familiar face and that she had probably met me once upon a time. After exchanging a few glances of familiarity and with some encouragement from my friends, I went up to talk to Niki and the girls. We ended up having a great time together and after talking for a little bit parted ways.
As the story goes, at the next Boston Bruins Thursday night home game Niki was casually talking with some of our co-workers and mentioned to our co-worker about seeing the “cute” new intern out at the bar a few nights before. From there our co-worker tried to quickly play matchmaker as Niki and I were staffed together that night. After the game some co-workers and I decided to go out for a drink. At the bar, said co-worker filled me in on the fact that Niki thought I was a “cute intern” and I then proceeded to ask if I could have Niki’s number. Against her better judgment, Niki eventually gave the co-worker approval via text message to share her number with me that night.
After a few days of texting back and forth, Nik and I decided to meet up for a beer on a Saturday afternoon at Boston Beer Works. It was here on March 6, 2010 where I told Niki that “I was all class, all the time.” This line somehow got her to agree to go on another date with me.
On Friday March 19th, in non-traditional fashion, Niki picked me up outside my younger brother’s freshman dorm room. We went over to the North End of Boston and had dinner. After enjoying a nice dinner and conversation we then carried on to a lovely dive bar in Faneuil Hall to watch some March Madness basketball. It was a fun night getting to know each other more. We bonded over our similarities and laughed over our differences. It was a terrific night. Very shortly thereafter we “officially” classified ourselves as a couple and the rest as they say, is history.
how they asked
I can’t say that there was an exact date and time when I decided that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Niki. Rather, it was an accumulation of dinner dates, time spent with family, vacations, weekend trips with friends, and lazy Sundays spent watching football and eating copious amounts of cheese together over our first four years as a couple that ultimately led me to making the decision to propose marriage.
After doing my research and due diligence in learning all about cut, clarity, color, and carat I was ready to venture out to look at various shiny items in well-lit display cases. After meeting with Mr. Solera one night after work for dinner to ask his permission for his daughter’s hand in marriage all that was left to do was propose.
I had known for a while how I wanted to pop the question and it was only a matter of putting in a few calls and pulling a few strings to make it happen.
The day was March 15th. One of the generous season ticket holders that we had come to know during our time at the Bruins had graciously offered up his seats to us for the game. I chose to start the day in the same way we started our relationship- with a beer at Boston Beer Works before the game. We sat there casually chatting as my nerves started to set in.
We then made our way across the street to the Garden to watch the Bruins take on the Carolina Hurricanes. We worked our magic for a seat upgrade into a handicap section next to the Zamboni tunnel where we often stood and watched games together while we were still working for the team. The game carried on as former co-workers came by to say hello and we watched the Bruins score goal after goal (it was a 5-1 victory for those keeping score at home) as my heart began to beat faster and faster. It was probably the fastest 60 minutes of hockey I had ever witnessed (or at least that’s how it felt to me). Once the clock hit 0.00 at the end of the 3rd period it was go time.
After letting most of the crowd disperse, we hopped over the railings into the Zamboni tunnel to “casually catch-up with some former co-workers.” When Niki started chatting with a few folks I casually excused myself to go to the restroom. Little did she know, I was sneaking away to go to my old locker room to get the tiny blue box out of the bag that I had dropped with our good friend and former co-worker the previous night in order to sneak it in to the arena.
After getting a few final words of encouragement I came out of the locker room with the ring in pocket. It was at that time when the Bruins professional photographer “just so happened” to be still hanging around. He asked us if we wanted to head out to center ice for a picture. Often being spoiled at the Garden- Niki still thought nothing of it and happily obliged.
After the photographer snapped a few pictures of us at center ice he casually stepped away and it was time to do what I had come to do. Of course I had a great little speech prepared but the nerves got to me a little bit and something along the lines of “Welp, it’s been a great four years and this is where it all started” were muttered out of my mouth. It was at that time I reached my sweaty palms into my pocket to grab the box, got down on one knee and proudly asked Niki- “Will you marry me?”
Although I am not sure if I ever got a verbal “Yes”, I watched her step back and with her hands over her mouth and tears in her eyes I saw her nod her head in agreement. I figured that was good enough so I pulled her back and slipped the ring over her finger.
After taking a few deeps breathes and feeling the stress come off my shoulders we received some congratulations from our remaining friends at the Garden and headed out as an engaged couple. We then walked over to the North End (where we had our first real date) and enjoyed a glass of champagne. After the glass, we headed over to Legal Sea Foods in the Boston Seaport where I had our parents and a couple of my siblings waiting at a table upstairs as the final surprise of the day. Safe to say, it was a day to remember and one of the best of our lives.