GRAND FORKS — It's been more than a year since John Shaughnessy attended a sporting event, something most, if not all, sports and entertainment fans can relate to.
Shaughnessy is from Florida, N.Y., and is retired from UPS.
He's proving that even amid a pandemic, the love of sports knows no boundaries.
"I usually get to about 20 or so games a year, and I go to the Frozen Four each year," Shaughnessy said.
He and his son, now in college, have cherished the hockey-watching tradition for 15 years.
"Me and my son went to a regional tournament when he was a really little kid, and we just got into it," he said. "We started going to the Frozen Four about 10 years ago, and we've been there ever since."
Shaughnessy planned to go to the NCHC Frozen Faceoff tournament in St. Paul and then keep his Frozen Four ritual alive in Detroit in 2020. However, all sporting events were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fast-forward a year later, John received an email that tickets would be up for grabs for the Frozen Faceoff in Grand Forks. He didn't hesitate to jump at the opportunity.
"I hadn't been to a game in over a year ... I said, 'Why not? Let's do this,'" Shaughnessy said. "I even used my plane ticket I was going to use to go to the Frozen Four last year, so that got me out here."
It's also the first time he's ever set foot in North Dakota. He says the farthest north he'd ever been previously was South Dakota.
He also wanted to check off "visiting the Ralph Engelstad Arena" from his bucket list.
"It's good to be here, and I'm glad they pulled this off," he said. "I hope to come back someday when I get the full experience of a packed house."
Shaughnessy got to see all seven tournament games.