Habs fan scratches a chance at gold medal hockey tickets

She scratched and scratched, and she scored, and scored.

Denise Gauthier holds her ticket from the 100th anniversary game of the Montréal Canadiens she attended in December

She scratched and scratched, and she scored, and scored.

It took 13 tries but with persistence and $39 later Denise Gauthier finally got what she wanted,  a chance at four tickets to the men’s gold medal hockey game at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

“I was thrilled, excited,” Gauthier said with a big grin on her face.

Using her Visa card, a requirement for the purchase of the tickets, Gauthier dutifully bought her scratch tickets, thinking, “Somebody’s got to win.”

“I did win,” Gauthier said, the excitement still evident in her voice.

“Isn’t that amazing?”

The winning lottery ticket guarantees Gauthier four tickets to a gold medal event, not necessarily men’s hockey. She could receive tickets to the women’s hockey gold medal game, or to a figure skating medal round.

Gauthier, an unabashed hockey fan, readily admitted that tickets to figure skating are less appealing.

As an added bonus the winning ticket also came with $2,000 spending money, presumably to cover accommodation and meal costs while in Vancouver, Gauthier explained.

With family in Vancouver offering Gauthier a place to stay she put the $2,000 to better use.

Gauthier says she’s been a fan of the Montréal Canadiens since the age of five and can remember her mom yelling at the television, “Take the man not the puck.”

Don Cherry would be proud.

Gauthier used part of her winnings to cover some of the costs for a trip to attend the Canadiens’ 100th Anniversary game against the Boston Bruins Dec. 4, 2009.

Not going to the game was not an option for Gauthier who had been saving air miles precisely for the occasion.

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Thibault flew to Montréal without a ticket, confident a scalper would gladly take her money and she was ready to pay the price, which turned out to be $600.

It was a great game, Thibault said of the 5 − 1 victory over the visiting Bruins, but it is the pre-game ceremony that tugged at Thibault’s heart-strings.

“I cried several times,” Gauthier said of the ceremony that saw Canadiens heroes from the past don their uniforms and take to the ice.

Thibault pulls out the now priceless ticket for the game, pointing out the names of every player to wear the Canadiens jersey inscribed into the ticket.

“It was just amazing,” Thibault said as she rattled off names like [Patrick] Roy, [Ken] Dryden, [Pete] Mahovolich, [Yvan] Cournoyer, [Steve] Shutt, and her favourite Guy Lafleur.

What hockey fan wouldn’t get goose bumps watching Patrick Roy taking warm up shots at one end of the ice and Ken Dryden at the other?

While at the game Thibault signed up for a new Visa card.

“I wanted the souvenir comforter they were giving away,” Thibault explained, sitting on her living room sofa with the prized comforter draped over her shoulders.

Cloaked in the lore of the ‘les Habitants’ Thibault now waits patiently with her fingers crossed hoping that lady luck will strike twice and give her tickets to the coveted men’s Olympic gold medal hockey game.

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