My first and probably most cherished hockey memory, simply because it was the first time I'd ever watched a game and I fell in love immediately, was a juniors game between the Spokane Chiefs and the Tri-City Americans. I was already in my early twenties, and my aunt was a billet - a foster mother of sorts for young hockey players playing in the states. As soon as I'd shown any interest in hockey after catching the end of a very exciting Avalanche game on television and complaining to my dad that we had no hockey close, he told me about my aunt's arrangement with the team and suggested that I take in a game with her. The minute I walked in to the arena, I was sold. The smell of the ice, the vibe of the crowd, and the savage beauty of the game. So graceful, yet so brutal. There were even a couple of fights, to which I wasn't sure how I would react - and I even enjoyed those. Below is a highlight video of the Chiefs in 2007-2008, the season of their latest Memorial Cup win since I couldn't find any from as long ago as I first went.
Another memory I have is when I started playing. I had fallen so head-over-heels in love with the game I decided that I needed to play. One of my friends happened to be assistant coach of a women's team in Spokane and he was thrilled when I said I wanted to play, even though I'd never been on skates. He took me shopping for gear, skates, and then to a local hockey rink to get a feel for the ice before I started practice. I was a bit wobbly and almost gave up, figured it was too hard. He talked me in to going to practice anyway and giving it a shot. The minute I stepped onto the ice with all of my pads and helmet and holding my hockey stick, I was a natural. When you're focused on the game, drills, learning and executing plays, your body just does the skating thing naturally. It's an even bigger rush than watching.
And last but certainly not least, the Ducks hoisting the Stanley Cup in 2007. I think this can go without further commentary:
We hope you've enjoyed our trip down hockey memory lane. Do you have any favorite hockey memories? Share them below!