JENNY'S JOURNAL: How NOT to Plan a Hockey Wedding
In a series of weekly blog posts, Jenny Scrivens will be sharing some of her best stories and advice for our Hockey Wives exclusive, "Jenny's Journal". Jenny is the Communications Manager at Ronald McDonald House of Northern Alberta and she met her husband, Edmonton Oilers goalie Ben Scrivens, while playing hockey at Cornell University in New York State. Enjoy her first post!
Ben and I met and fell in love at Cornell University in upstate New York. After graduating in 2010, Ben signed his first NHL contract and the two of us moved our lives to Toronto- a new city for both of us. Luckily, Toronto is currently the only team in the league to also have its AHL team in the same city. While you’ve seen the impact of getting sent up and down with Emilie and Jon Blum, Ben and I never had to pack up and move during his many team changes that year. (Though he did spend the first part of the season in the ECHL, the league below the AHL- but that’s another story!)
So when Ben proposed to me after our first year together in Toronto, I was still pretty new to professional hockey and naïve about how it could impact our lives. I was determined to work in Toronto, despite being an American citizen, so I applied for a work visa and landed a job in marketing. Growing my career despite the challenges made me feel impervious to the drawbacks of Ben’s career, because I was still able to do everything I set out to do after college.
We decided on Canmore, Alberta for our wedding venue, and I planned every detail from our home in Toronto. However, there was one element for which I could not plan. The Toronto Marlies made it to the playoffs that year, and before I could blink they were in the Western Conference finals. It was nearing the end of May, and our wedding was scheduled for June 15.
The Marlies won the series and with that, a chance at the AHL’s Calder Cup. Within a few days, the final schedule was released, and Game 7 was to be held on our wedding day. Yes, Game 7 and our wedding were the same day. I was in shock. All the hours and days and months I had poured into planning our dream wedding, and nothing could have prepared me for this.
As a hockey wife, and I think especially as a wife of a goalie, you learn to let go of the things you can’t control. Right Kodette, Martine and Noureen? So that’s what I did.
The best part of this hockey life is having a support network in the other wives and girlfriends. They were there for me to laugh at the situation and tell me it would all work out. But even they were worried for me- the girls who have seen everything in this sport. Several girls asked if Ben would leave and go to our wedding if it came down to Game 7. For me, it wasn’t even a question. I knew how hard he had worked to get here, and I wasn’t about to get in the way of his chance. Plus, as a former hockey player myself, I knew I’d want the opportunity to play if that were me in his position!
Once I came to terms with the fact that Ben might not be in Canmore on our wedding day, I drew up our contingency plan. Nix the ceremony, of course, and bump up the reception so we could all watch the big game. If we couldn’t have our wedding, we were going to have the biggest Marlies viewing party outside of Toronto. Cancel the grand entrance, first dance and toasts, add in a large projector, Marlies jerseys and more beer. Following the reception the next day when we were to be visiting with friends and family at brunch, we would get married, quickly, and celebrate with French toast and mimosas.
Thankfully, the series never went to seven games. The Marlies lost, and Ben was able to get from Norfolk, Virginia to Canmore, Alberta with enough time to attend our rehearsal dinner. In the end, it’s given us a great story to be able to tell our kids one day, and even advice for other hockey couples planning their wedding day- don’t schedule it for mid-June!