It's a really good idea - getting people to tell "their tale" so to speak. Mine ain't nothing to write home about but here goes.
Mention the word "hockey" over here in the UK and 99.9% of the population will automatically assume you're talking about Field Hockey. We all play it at school...there are numerous local teams - you really do have to put the word "ice" in front to get anyone to understand you. Anyway, I never watched ice hockey. Had never even seen a small clip. I knew nothing.
I used to run a website and group in appreciation of Anthony Head. Website is still there. We raised quite a bit of money for various charities nominated by Anthony and in the course of these, one of the people who offered her help in running these auctions and raffles, was a Californian sports nut. We met up at an event over here - and she started talking hockey. My blank look was a challenge, I think! She kept on about how much I'd love it and I pooh-poohed it. All she asked was for me to watch ONE game. That's all.
Obviously, the time difference was a bit of a bugger. And we only got one game a week on tv. At midnight - finishing at about 3-4am. I gave it a go - stayed up to watch a game. Turned out to be Blues v Red Wings. I had no idea about the rules. Knew none of the players. But the speed and physicality of the game just got me hooked. The Blues lost. But there was just something about the team that started to niggle away at me. A few weeks later, I stayed up to watch another game. Blues again. Can't remember their opponents but I was on my feet when they scored.
The next day, I admitted to Pam that I'd watched a couple of games...was hooked...and was now supporting the St Louis Blues. Her reaction? "The Blues?! WTF? You ARE shitting me, right?" LOL At the time, Pam was supporting the Kings...then transferred her allegiance to the Ducks...now it's back to the Kings. I think at heart she's always been a Kings fan but just had a brief affair with the Ducks. A couple of weeks later, a little package arrived for me. LOL A Blues baseball cap. A "welcome to hockey" present from Pam.
I came into it mid/end season. The following season? Well that was the lockout. I've always had pretty shite timing! I dipped my toe into forums - yes, including the asylum - and then found this delightful little place. I went to the London games in 2007 to see the Kings v Ducks - Pam came over and stayed and we just had a great time at the O2. It took until THIS year for me to see the Blues live and in person. In CA, staying with Pam, of course. Won one, lost one. I'll take that. I also had a great time with "spectr"...not to mention the high fives from Blues fans in the concourse...and high fives from the players as they took the ice - awesome! As one person at the Kings game remarked to me: "this means more to you than meeting Brad Pitt, doesn't it?". Yup.
I have a lot of catching up to do - I'm starting to go through the history of the team and the players, I'm addicted to old clips on youtube. I devour everything I possibly can about the Blues. And I'm already planning my next visit to the US - which includes watching the Blues on home ice in St Louis.
However. When I walk around here in Penzance with my Blues jersey on, I know that NOBODY has the slightest clue what the logo is or even what sport the shirt refers to. When I wear one of my "Blues hockey" tshirts, I know that EVERYONE assumes I support some weirdass field hockey team. But. I have met a Maple Leaf fan in town. Another one came up to me in the Land's End Dr Who exhibition for a chat. A taxi driver, taking me to the station on the way to the London games, turned out to be a Flames fan. And - rather wonderfully - a new work colleague turns out to be a Hurricanes fan! There ARE ice hockey fans in the UK. You just have to tempt them out with a bit of ham or something...
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