Hockey Day In America: Hockey Memories

What Hockey Means to Us: A Tribute to Hockey Day in America

2/17/13 in NHL   |   Jess   |   35129 respect

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!
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2/18/13   |   ML31   |   3678 respect

Being a California Coast kid it is hard to come up with a cherished hockey memory.  But like many from my generation it began with the 1980 US hockey gold medal.  The USA-USSR game started at 2pm on a Friday but I got home from school and bailed on swim team practice that day to watch the end.   I got caught up in it just like the rest of the country.  Only saw bits and pieces of the 2nd medal round game on Sunday (not technically a "gold medal game" as it was still possible for the US to not even get a medal if they lost that game since the format was different back then) as I was at a swim meet all day Sunday.  But a number of people brought small TV's they plugged into outdoor outlets where they could.  Small groups of kids and parents were crowded around those TV's for the entire game.  Kids leaving only when they had an event to swim and parents leaving only when their kids swam.  And sometimes not even then!
Hockey sort of dropped off my radar after that as there was no local team at any level in my area.  But a couple of years later we got cable and I found the NHL on the USA network.  Was very happy for that.  There was no team in my area but I attached myself to the Capitals because they had sucked so badly recently and also the Canucks as they were the closest team to me (at the time) that wasn't in Los Angeles.  Then ESPN got the NHL and games became easier to see. 
Not sure if this is "cherished" but it is a hockey memory.  When I was at San Jose State one of the guys in the dorm was from Connecticut.  He had played high school hockey.  Our floor had a broomball team and he was our ringer.  He tried to turn everyone in our building into Whaler fans!  He even got permission to paint the Whaler logo in the dorm hallway!
Anyway. a few years later came the Sharks and the rest is history.