Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Women & Hockey, part 3: What makes hockey special

The following are a mix of answers to two questions: "Is there any particular memory/reason that sticks out as to why you became interested in hockey?" and "All time best hockey memory for you?"

Because a lot of respondents said that their favorite memories of the game were tied into the same thing(s) that first turned them on to hockey, I'm sharing a mix of the answers here. The stories all stand on their own, so they are quoted direct from my interviews.
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"I don’t know how my love for the game started, probably because I was so young, but what I DO remember is playing the game with scraped up kneepads on the driveway with my dad, always like it was game seven and the Cup was being polished as we played. I have always been drawn to the sport, the fans, the players, and the drama of it all. What an exciting sport to devote myself to!" - Meg

"Riding the Zamboni before a game started in 1994 at the United Center. It also happened to be the very first regular season game at the United Center. " - Emily

"It started off with watching Hockey Night in Canada with my family when we got CBC on our TV. My dad lived in Montreal for a bit as a kid, so he was a Habs fan. What really sticks out to me, though, is 7 years ago a city near by me got a WHL hockey team, and in their expansion season they went all the way to the WHL finals. After attending the series clinching game 6 of the WHL Western Conference semi-finals between the Everett Silvertips/Vancouver Giants I fell in love with the team & hockey. I started listening to the games & radio show on the local AM radio station, collecting newspapers for the articles about the team, etc, like the sports nerd I am. Junior hockey helped me keep my hockey love alive and survive the NHL lockout." - Hannah

"November 30, 2000, Hawks got shut out 0-3 by the Predators - I got engaged at the end of the first period on the scoreboard." - Renia

"I took up playing in-line hockey in my home town (about 8 hours from an ice rink in country Australia). Fell in love with playing, one day before going to training on a Sunday afternoon, I turned on the tv, flicked through pay tv channels and stumbled across ice hockey. It was game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, and within a minute, Paul Kariya was knocked unconscious by Scott Stevens. You could see him skitter across the ice, you could see the exact moment he regained consciousness as breath fogged his visor. Eleven minutes later he came back and scored, and I was hopelessly and forever hooked on the sport of hockey." - Sasky

"One of the most meaningful memories I've ever had would be when the Detroit Red Wings won the cup in 1998 and presented the cup to Vladimir Konstantinov. It was a very emotional moment for everyone here in Detroit." - Jennifer

"It's hard to beat the Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup as my favorite memory.  But that's the obvious answer so I'll go with this:  I mentioned that my brother played hockey competitively for 16 years, making it all the way to the AAA level before deciding, at age 19, that he didn't want to play anymore (that definitely was NOT my best hockey memory).  But for the sixteen years that he did play, my family was inseparable.  Hockey - my brother's team and the Blackhawks - kept us together.  We all (my parents, my younger sister, and my hockey-playing brother) piled into our car for all of his practices and games.  We missed days of school to drive to places like Fraser, Michigan, and Affton, Missouri, for weekend youth hockey tournaments.  Those weekends away were our family vacations but we loved it!  We had so much fun, and most of the boys had sisters the same age as my sister and me, so we all were BFF, too.  It seemed that the Blackhawks had a lot of road games on Saturday nights back then, too, and they were televised.  So it became our family ritual on Saturday nights to have Dad make homemade pizza (dough, sauce, everything); we'd have that for dinner, watch 'Dance Fever', and then wait for the Blackhawks game to come on.  Those were the days." - Francesca

"I mean this playoff run for the Flyers was amazing and something I will never forget. One of my favorite hockey memories comes from the '97 Flyers playoff  Game 4 ECF run when Eric Lindros scored the GWG with under 6 seconds left vs a Gretzky lead Rangers team. Flyers went on the win series and it was also the last playoff game played in Madison Square Garden till after lock-out." - Kali

"[My husband] Frank  was watching the Rangers and Washington in the 2nd round of the 1994 playoffs - we were living in the NY area and Frank was a Rangers fan.  I was hanging out with him, but not watching the game, as I did not particularly like hockey then. I think it's because my previous boyfriend, who tried to get me interested in the sport, was a Devils fan.  Frank stared going nuts, laughing and saying "I can't believe this!!", so I looked up to watch the replay of Esa Tikkanen kiss an opponent on the nose.  Apparently they were getting into some scrap and the guy was going nose-to-nose with Tikkanen, who just leaned over and smooched him on the nose.  The guy did not know how to react, and it was hilarious!  So I started watching (hockey).  The Rangers beat Washington and then faced the Devils in one of the most exciting playoff series -- a couple of triple-overtimes, Messier guaranteeing a win and then getting a hat trick, game 7 won in double-overtime." - Laurie

"Probably any number of the trips I've taken to see hockey games. Driving to Phoenix from Denver  to see the Bruins play the Coyotes was insanity (15 hours each way, I was in Phoenix for a grand total of 10 hours), Epic December in Chicago was AMAZING (I got to see my team practice at Johnny's Ice House!), but yeah, all the travelling and all the great people I've met are a huge key part of my favorite hockey-related memories." - Sarah

"My best hockey memory comes from college. Our school, University of Alabama in Huntsville, beat Providence College at home. That victory caught the attention of NBC Nightly News, who sent a reporter to do a feature about the team. I produced a feature of the feature (still with me?), which aired on our local newscast the same night the NBC feature aired on Nightly News. I also have fond memories of the Penguins' 3 Stanley Cup victories." - Su

"If you had asked me this a week ago [before the Stanley Cup win], it would be totally different. Today, it would be touching the Cup the night (or I suppose early morning after) the Blackhawks won it, and being able to thank the players and management. Before then, it would probably be a tie between celebrating the Chicago Wolves Turner Cup victory in Grand Rapids with many players that I had by then befriended, and having the chance to interview Bob Probert for a local newspaper for a column I wrote when I was 11, which changed my life in MANY ways, including allowing me to realize how accessible hockey was." - Alexa


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Female or male, please feel free to share your own favorite hockey stories below! 

1 comment:

  1. I was never into sports, but my neighbors got me turned on to hockey when I was little with the 70's Blackhawks, and I loved watching a sport! Because of events in my life I lost touch with hockey until my nephew said the Blackhawks are on TV, there'se a czech player I might like (as we're Slovaks) and they are good again!
    I started watching again a few years ago and this time I got so much more out of it than when I was little and fell in love all over again. Now I'm a rabid hockey fan, Center Ice and all! I thank my nephew for this-I have only loved one sport-hockey- so fast, such skill, so fun to watch and going to a game is a rock concert experience, and Havlat is still my favorite player! and the Blackhawks Stanley Cup win-Priceless!

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