True hockey fans, their last-minute road trip stretched from Phoenix to Boston.
A promise made is a promise kept — at least in the Maher family. For the holidays, Tim and Kelley Maher gifted their 17-year-old son Beauwin tickets to the 2023 Discover NHL Winter Classic® at Fenway Park in Boston. The entire family was excited about the trip, including their other son Sullivan and their daughters Ireland and Sailor.
But after repeated flight delays in their hometown of Phoenix, the dream of seeing the big hockey game in Boston began to fade. "I said, ‘It’s not happening. Like, nothing’s happening,'" Tim said.
But the Mahers refused to give up hope and turned to Enterprise for help. The team working the rental counter that day at Sky Harbor International landed them a truck with enough room for the whole family and soon they were on an unexpected 39-hour road trip. “It seriously felt like we were being sent off by family,” Kelley recalled.
The Mahers were determined that their hockey passion would prevail — and only 2,600 miles separated them from their dream game. With each passing mile, excitement grew.
“Mentally shifting from a short airplane flight to a long car trip with six people, all going for our ‘unmissable’ Winter Classic, was a lot to wrap our heads around," said Kelley. “What transpired was a unique bonding experience and an unexpected joy.”
The family made four overnight stops during their cross-country journey, and each stop made a lasting impression.
“In Amarillo, Texas, we got up early to continue driving, and the nicest women took care of us at the gas station,” Kelley said. “We were so positively impacted by all the people we met during our journey. We felt like our road trip gave us the opportunity to experience that.”
Enterprise, who is a sponsor of the National Hockey League, made the league aware of the Maher’s plight, and the NHL stepped in with an assist.
The league upgraded the family from bleacher seats to seats atop the famous Green Monster, a nickname for the left field wall in Fenway Park.
Even a playing legend got involved — former Boston Bruins captain and Hall of Famer Ray Bourque. He treated the family to dinner at his restaurant, Tresca, and presented them with a Bruins jersey. The Mahers said no kind gesture was lost on them, adding that what could have been a disaster ended up being the trip of a lifetime.
This year, the Mahers recreated their 2023 adventure by renting a car from Enterprise and driving from Phoenix to Seattle for the 2024 Discover NHL Winter Classic®. With more time to plan the road trip, they made leisurely stops along the way, including a visit with friends in Utah.
“What was born last year was really a neat experience for us, and a seed was planted for sure,” Kelley said. “We hope to continue our tradition for years to come.”