We love the guy. We miss him bad. We wish he would still be in Utah because we would be doing better. —Phil Chandler
BOSTON — Not everyone from Utah hates Gordon Hayward.
Phil and Jill Chandler were nestled in a sea of green and white at TD Garden near the famous parquet floor, excited to watch the Utah Jazz face the Boston Celtics on the road Friday.
The Chandlers could’ve been anywhere in the world, but the Layton, Utah residents chose to watch the Jazz on their 32nd wedding anniversary.
Phil, 54, decided to pull out his white, navy blue and gold No. 20 Hayward jersey to celebrate the special occasion.
They viewed the action from section 21B in the second row of the arena.
“If we had a poster we would hold it up saying, we’re just two of the thousands of Utah fans fans praying for you (Gordon Hayward). We love the guy,” Phil said. “We miss him bad. We wish he would still be in Utah because we would be doing better.”
Hayward is currently recovering from a likely season-ending left ankle injury in his first season as a Celtic after playing his first seven seasons in Utah.
A few months ago at a business event, Phil said he had to give away something so he gave away his authentic Hayward jersey to a friend named Andy Gregoire. With Hayward leaving Utah for Boston in the offseason, the uniform wasn’t doing him any good anymore.
“So I said whoever can give me the most compelling reason to have this jersey, I’ll give it to them,” Phil explained. “(Andy) says I really want that jersey because my kid’s a huge Hayward fan and we were really glad we got him so I said, ‘Here you go.’”
A couple months later, Phil received an unexpected phone call from Gregoire, who now lives in the Boston area and works for Ace Technology, with a pleasant surprise.
“I’ve got tickets. You want them?” Gregoire asked.
“Yeah, but it’s my anniversary,” Phil replied.
“Bring your wife,” Gregoire said. “I’ll give her my ticket.”
And the rest is history, as the Chandlers were rewarded for a good deed.
“I never knew giving away my Hayward jersey would pay off like this,” Phil said, smiling.