Sean Dwyer remembers the exact moment he fell in love with the Hartford Whalers.
“I remember it vividly. My dad took me to my first ever Whaler game, I was six years old.” Dwyer said in his office, walls covered in posters of glory moments from the Whalers’ past.
“Blaine Stoughton scored on a penalty shot with nine seconds left and the Whalers beat the Sabers three to two and I was hooked. I was a Whaler fan from that day forward.”
That was March 29, 1983.
In 2005 he met another love, his wife Kate.
“I never really watched hockey until I met him,” Kate said, now donning an NHL Eastern Conference jersey in their Garnder, Mass. home.
From never watching a game to planning a hockey-themed wedding. Sean and Kate got married on the ice of the Gardner Veterans Arena March 30 in a Hartford Whalers extravaganza for the books.
The wedding was Kate’s idea.
“This is my second marriage, I’ve already had my dream wedding. This is your dream wedding. I’ll let you have the Whaler wedding.” is what she told him when they got engaged in 2010.
He thought she was kidding at first, but then he ran with it.
“My family and friends thought I was crazy,” Kate joked. “His just said ‘yea, that figures.’”
Sean wore a Whaler-green tuxedo, his groomsmen all wore jerseys. Kate’s dress was embellished with a Whaler’s logo on the train and her bridesmaids had matching royal blue dresses.
“We never wanted anything traditional,” Kate said.
Foam fingers, a beer vendor for ceremony guests in the stands, even rally towels. All the way to their Stanley Cup wedding cake, they left no puck unturned.
“We wanted to give it the feel of things you would see at a hockey stadium.”
The guest of honor, a green whale resembling the Whalers mascot who they named “Bundy,” walked Kate down the aisle and hung out with guests at the reception.
Despite the fact that 90 percent of their wedding party and guests are Bruins fans –Kate and Sean are both Massachusetts natives and still live there today– “they were all good sports,” Sean says.
Sean looks back on the day with one word to describe it, special. But he knows not everyone will have good things to say about their unconventional nuptials. “Some people may not understand why, it wasn’t traditional. Don’t do it that way then. This was our way, we enjoyed it, we had a great time.”