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Off To Stockholm

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It must have been in the 93-94 or 94-95 season. I was 14 or 15, up in the middle of the night watching NHL hockey live for the very first time. The Blues were playing and Brett Hull scored a hat-trick.

Brett Hull. He's the one who started it for me. I'd watched plenty of hockey already, or at least I thought I had. Tre Kronor, the Swedish National team, was successful during this time, a player called Peter Forsberg was just getting started, Mats Sundin was already a household name. I'd been to quite a few hockey games live, too. But I'd never seen anyone like Brett Hull. The speed in which he played the game, the precision and power of the shot, the killer instinct. From that day on, whenever someone would ask me what team I rooted for I'd answer with Brett's team -- the St. Louis Blues.

I admit, I didn't follow the Blues, or the NHL for that matter, all that much during my teenage years. North American hockey was cool, I saw a game now and then, sure, but c'mon, I was a teenager. Girls, rock music and getting drunk was my main interests. But hockey was always there, and it grew.

Now I'm as much a Blues fanatic as you can be. I check all the websites for updates several times a day. I constantly tell my fiancée about the team, whether she wants to hear about it or not. I sit up watching all fucking night on a Tuesday when the Blues are playing an away game in Nashville. I'm easily irritated days after a loss, I'm happy and on my game after wins. I taught my goddaughter to (almost) say "David Perron, Blues de St Louis" this summer. This team is everywhere for me.

And now they're even here, playing in the capital of my home country, against the arch rival's, the bastards, the FUCK Detroit Red Wings, with those stupid-looking farmer boys Franzén and Holmström and their equally stupid-looking fans. It's been said over and over how much red jerseys there will be in the stands in the Globe Arena tonight and tomorrow. I don't think that will be the case. The Red Wings is a popular team over here, but their fans will never be as passionate and as engaged as the Blues' fans. I'd say the audience will mostly be made out of normal Swedes. They will think that it's cool that the Red Wings and Blues is coming over, they'll be there to watch an NHL game, not a specific team. We'll see tonight if I'm right.

I'll be there, rooting the good guys on, the players I follow everyday. The awesomeness-on-skates that is David Backes, Mr Cool David Perron, Oshie with his furnace face and beautiful checks, Cam Smash Cam Bang Janssen, old man Walt, sneaky little Andy Mac and of course Pretty-boy TechnoViking Patrik Berglund and the rest.

It's Friday morning, I'm getting on the train to Stockholm in 30 minutes. For me this truly is a dream come true. And damn, this is going to be great!