The one about…finding the one

When you know, you know.

Natasha Zare knew Maxim Lapierre was the one from the first time she laid eyes on him.

“Well, maybe not the very very first time, but it didn’t take long,” Natasha laughed Sunday afternoon taking a break from the sun, sitting on the shaded patio in their backyard.

Lapierre was traded to Vancouver on February 28, 2011, and despite a hectic schedule for the Canucks, he tried his best to get out and explore Vancouver. That led him to Cactus Club Yaletown on Tuesday, March 15, 2011, for a bite to eat with a buddy. Natasha was their waitress. That was almost the end of the story.

Chris Higgins, also new to Vancouver, his brother and Kevin Bieksa joined Lapierre forcing a move to a larger table.

“He helped me with the menus and he helped do his own cutlery,” explained Natasha. “He’s the only person that has ever helped bring everything to the other table himself.”

And you thought chivalry was dead.

The small gesture from Maxim sparked a connection between the two, although Natasha admits she was hesitant to get into a relationship. A few days earlier she had given her notice to Cactus Club with a move to Florida on the horizon with Natasha preparing to accept a scholarship to law school.

Then Maxim called. Then he called again. And again. He kept calling until she gave him the time of day.

“He was persistent, let’s just say,” Natasha said smiling. “Do you remember he had that one game where he just kept going after the puck, kept going after the puck and kept going after the puck before he ended up doing a spin-o-rama for the goal? That is how I would describe us getting together. He did not stop trying.”

Maxim’s persistence paid off in this instance just as it did on November 25, 2011, when he put on a one-man show scoring the beautiful goal Natasha mentioned against the Phoenix Coyotes, and the two were inseparable weeks later. He proposed last December, December 18th to be exact, dropping to one knee moments after returning home from a lengthy five-game eastern road trip.

Natasha sees a side of Maxim that few others do; she describes him as a warm, caring man with “a big heart, the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met,” and would have continued showering him with praise if she hadn’t noticed he was now listening.

“What is that machine Derek, can you leave that for me? She speaks so nice about me into that thing,” laughed Maxim.

The chemistry between these two, who will be wed next summer in Montreal, is flawless. He’s feisty. She’s feisty. When talk of board games arises, things get heated. Scrabble isn’t just Scrabble, it’s war. Like two cats in a sock.

But that’s the only time Maxim ever displays even a glimmer of the Maxim Canucks fans see on the ice.

“Anyone who knows him, who actually knows him, knows that he’s nothing like he is on the ice in real life. He’s all gentleman.”