"I had heard about it while I was in Atlanta and I hoped to be there to surprise them," Travis Roy says. He was there, but it was no surprise because his arrival in Boston was well-covered by local reporters who have all but adopted him, covering his accident and the aftermath and even acceding to his wishes that they not attend the banquet Saturday night so he could spend time with teammates as a teammate, and not a celebrity. He played that part earlier in the day when he joined in first pitch ceremonies at Fenway Park for a Red Sox game.
The Roys are back, guests again at the hotel in this sold-out city where rooms are $400 this weekend because of the 100th running of the Boston Marathon. Again, there will be no bill.
He has spent time with friends, telling them of Atlanta, of the lows, when he first went to a restaurant with Lee and realized the difficulty of eating in public when he can't feed himself; of the highs, when he began to learn the things he can do.
"It's like while I was in Atlanta, I learned there are a lot of open doors to paralyzed people," Roy says.
Then he paused.
"The problem now," he says, "is I can't open a door."
Others open them for him, and he uses a tube to guide his wheelchair, blowing hard to go forward, softer to steer the chair, sucking to back up, learning, in essence, to walk again.
He went for a tuxedo fitting. His sister, Todi, is a nurse in Boston and last summer she had postponed her wedding until April 27 to wait for the end of the Terriers' season so her brother could take part.
Today, he returns to Yarmouth, Maine, to a transformed home, with a new apartment built in back.
And he plans for a future.
"Look," he says, "nobody plays hockey forever, and someday I was going to have to hang it up. But I didn't plan on doing it this early."
There is no condemnation of a game he has played since he was a tot, getting his first skates with 3 1/2-inch blades at 20 months.
"No," he says. "If someday I have a son, I hope he can play. I love hockey. I guess, in a way, it will be like being back in hockey, through him."
The Boston University locker room is empty now, lockers cleaned out after a season in which the Terriers made it to the NCAA Final Four for the sixth time in seven seasons. There, in a row of cubicles along the back wall with name plaques above them, one of the lockers still has a few things on the top shelf: a mask, a mouthpiece, skates with "T. Roy" in blue ink on the plastic between the boot and the blade.
They are skates Travis Roy will never wear again, but skates he can pass along to another generation of New England hockey player.
A family heirloom in the making.