It started when I was a teen. My dad would take me to watch the Fresno Falcons play hockey at Selland Arena in Fresno. I remember wearing my gloves and bundling up because the air was crisp both inside and outside since hockey season started in October.
My dad and I would cheer the home team and boo when the referees made a bad call. The player’s fights stirred everyone into a frenzy, as fans near the ice pounded on the glass and cheered on their favorite players.
Once I remember a fight broke out in the crowd a few rows over. It was so intense the players stopped skating to take in the brawl. This time the players cheered on the crowd until the fight was over.
My dad and I attended many of the games until I moved out and married in the late 70s. After that I only got my hockey fix every four years while watching the Olympics on TV, but it truely never satisfied my inner hockey fan.
There’s something about the game that draws me in – the smooth sound of ice skates scraping against the ice, watching the players move at lightning speed chasing after a small, round black rubber puck moving just as fast. With the non-stop ice action I’m mesmerized during each and every game.
After the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, I knew I needed that fix again. I watched the Stanley Cup Playoffs that year, and vowed to watch again once hockey season started in the fall. But since I’d not followed any NHL team in the past, I wasn’t sure who to follow.
Friends in Canada suggested their team, the Toronto Maple Leafs. I subscribed to Center Ice and when hockey season started in fall of 2010, I was ready for the action. I enjoyed watching their team; the commentators were likeable and fair to both teams. Plus, during the first period intermission I got hooked on watching Don Cherry and Ron McLean who hosted Coach’s Corner. One must watch Don Cherry to really appreciate him. I enjoyed his commentary, plus his devotion to the military and his passion for the game.
|Ron McLean and Don Cherry
I enjoyed watching so much, when I found out the Leafs were playing the Kings at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in January 2011, I bought tickets for myself, husband and son. Eight rows up from the penalty box, center ice. Awesome seats!
I wore my Leaf’s jacket and had a wonderful time. It was my first professional game. I enjoyed being part of the larger team – everywhere I went, anyone wearing Leaf Blue and White welcomed me as one of their own. Since the Leafs were so far from home I was surprised to see more than half of the stadium bathed in Blue and White.
The Leafs made us proud and gave us a 3-2 victory over the Kings. It was amazing!
Since then I’ve stayed a Leaf’s fan. We even made the playoffs last year, but didn’t win the Cup.
Bakersfield does have a hockey team, the Condors. We went to several of the games last year. I have to say I prefer watching the Leafs, but going to the Condors games fulfills that need for live action. Once the puck drops, no one knows what will happen, except we’re guaranteed lots of excitement (and maybe a few good fights). Yes, I admit I do like the fights – nothing like like it to go along with the game.
Go Leafs Go!