Our Madison Square Gardens team enjoying Delta's suite -
Front Row: Doug Vogl, Air Booking Center & Sonny Arneja, Voyages Lindberg
Back Row: Brad Ford, Lion World; Angelo Ferrara, Delta Air Lines; Jason Roussakis; Voyages A La Carte; Steven Larkin, Delta Air Lines; Suzanne Christie; Jessica Silverman, Dorel Industries; Emmanuel Liapakis, ICAO; Kenneth Mann, House of Travel; Frank DeMarinis, TravelBrands & Daniel Asfaha, EFFIX
The MSG centre ice scoreboard celebrates a Rangers goal...
... but the Canadiens won in a shootout
It's certainly not every day I have the opportunity to hop a flight to NYC to catch an NHL game at MSG. In fact, it has never happened before, so I leapt at the chance to join a group of Delta Air Lines top producers from Toronto and Montreal for last week's original 6 face off between the Rangers and the Canadiens.
As a sponsor of the Rangers, DL are big supporters and the Canadian sales team get the chance to take in a game from their private lounge rink-side seating during the season.
We hopped the DL Express commuter/connector to JFK and settled in to the Radisson Martinique just a few short blocks from Madison Square Gardens.
We were a polite mix of Rangers supporters due to the circumstances and die-hard Habs fans under any circumstances. Our Yankee neighbours grew more animated and vocal during the tightly fought game depending on the scoring - boo'ing and goading us good naturedly to gauge effect. With the score tied and beer flowing freely into the 3rd period, one fellow started shouting "I hate Canada!" but with a huge devilish grin on his face.
And, we did get the best of him when the Habs pulled off the win after 2 rounds in the shoot out.
Carey Price deserved that victory - he is such a remarkable goalie. He just seems to play the net in a different style than many others looking as if he's completely relaxed one moment and then suddenly pulling off a spectacularly athletic impossible save.
It was also a treat to see that Delta's decidedly unique corporate culture, especially among U.S.-based carriers, recognizes the importance of cultivating business relationships with their partners even as the industry has evolved to somewhat diminish mano-a-mano interaction.
I was impressed by all of the DL staff we encountered as each introduced themselves personally either at check-in or onboard and were genuinely interested in welcoming all of their passengers - especially during the lengthy creeping delay for our return flight (due to heavy fog at YYZ). Communications were frequent, detailed and we were always encouraged to ask questions or seek additional info throughout the process. Delays aren't fun - but, at least we always knew what was going on and why. It makes a huge difference. DL gets it that you have to play the game differently to win.