Ten years ago, to me, icing was what you put on a cake, tripping was what you did to the cute boys on the playground in elementary school and lock out is what happened when you shut the car door before you realized the keys were still in the ignition. Now every time I hear those terms I immediately think of what I know you all think of, the awesome sport of hockey.
I am not a traditional hockey fan to say the least. I didn't grow up on the frozen ponds of Wisconsin or Minnesota. I didn't bond with either of my parents or siblings while going to the Old Chicago Stadium to watch the Black Hawks games. In fact, before my husband bought our first year of season tickets, I had attended ONE professional hockey game in my life. I had seen a few IHL games, but didn't even know the difference between the IHL or the NHL at time. I was living in Milwaukee and working at the newspaper there when I came across tickets for a few Admiral's games.
To be honest, I thought it was like hockey's version of the Harlem Globetrotters. In my defense I was only 20 years old at the time and I was one of three girls in my family, we had no brothers, and to top it all off, when I was growing up there was no hockey on TV in Chicago. Looking at all the circumstances, it is amazing I am a fan at all now. I have always been honest about my lack of hockey roots and I am not a sports history or statistics girl. But since we have had our tickets, I have become a huge fan.
I consider myself like a "new money" fan of hockey. I didn't inherit a fortune in regards to a hockey background and I had to work to get my recent wealth of hockey knowledge. I know "old money" fans, who inherited their hockey wealth, often frown upon us new generation fans because when we are new we don't immediately get the etiquette, lingo or standards of the "old money" way of life. We bought our first tickets the season after the last lock out (2004-2005.) That first year the Blackhawks were so awful, I could hardly stand to watch the games, I hate losing. Of course, growing up on the North Side of Chicago raised a Cubs fan; I should be used to it right?
However, the good thing about the Hawks being so awful at the time was that there were enough stops in play, and the games were usually so boring, that my husband was able to take the time to explain the game to me. It took a while, but I eventually figured out what was going on down on the ice. I also very quickly learned hockey seat etiquette. And ten years later I am the one screaming, "WAIT FOR THE WHISTLE." I immediately fell in love with the fast pace of the game and the fights. Some women think the sport of hockey is too violent, but not me, the bigger the fight the better in my eyes. I love the adrenaline rush you get just watching it. Back then when I was able to go to a game they were uneventful, never any good fights. But spending time with my husband and kids, having fun and watching my step son fall in love with the sport of hockey was a wondrous sight. In the last ten years I have taken my "new fan" status and formed my own opinions of salary caps, the five minute OT period and players. My favorite Hawk is Patrick Sharp, predictable I know, but say what you will the man is amazing to look at and a pretty damn good hockey player too. However, I am still not a stat person, thankfully my step-son is and I plan to tap that resource as I write the female "new fan" perspective of the season, even if it is only a half of one.