I wasn't always a hockey fan. I hadn't even seen a hockey game until my freshman year in college and that was an intramural game. I had a little bit of a thing for one of the guys playing, but he was a big jerk and I only went to see the one game.
I always did love ice skating, though. Where I grew up down at the Jersey Shore, I was never far from a lake and back then, the lakes actually froze solid with ice inches thick, so skating was as safe as it could be. Not the river, though. It never froze solid and there were always instances of kids playing on the ice on the river and one falling in and drowning. Always really tragic stories.
It was actually ice skating that resulted in me having a broken collar bone. I was skating on a, well, I can't really call it a pond. By the high school, which was one yard (neighbor like, not a unit of measurement) away from my grandmother's house, there was a spot by the football field that had a deep enough dip that would fill with water and freeze. It was wide enough to be an impromptu ice rink. I was skating forward and did a 180 degree spin to stop and my feet flew out from under me and I landed on my shoulder. I was in 7th or 8th grade and was actually out of school for a couple of months while the bones healed.
I had been skating most of my life through high school I guess. I wasn't great or anything, but I could do a few tricks, nothing really fancy. And I used to watch figure skating on TV. I loved Dorothy Hamill. And it was her Olympic Achievements that caused me to declare to my mother that I wanted to be an Olympic Skater, her standard reply being something like, "Don't be ridiculous. You're not good enough."
I even had a Dorothy Hamill Wedge, her signature hair style. Of course, that was after I asked my step father to trim my hair and the left side ended up 6 inches shorter than the right side. If I can dredge up a picture of the infamous Wedge, I'll post it.
I kind of left my skates behind when I headed off to college. I did continue to skate, but on wheels and just for fun. I never put my skates on again after high school. I would still occasionally watch figure skating on TV, but even that interest started to wane, replaced by other hobbies and interests that demanded too much of my time. And when I moved up north, there really wasn't anywhere safe to skate anyway.
It wasn't until 2009 that I actually started watching professional hockey. Hubby always liked hockey, but he never watched it with any regularity. The only other sports I ever watched on TV were football when I was in elementary through high school. The Miami Dolphins were my team. I watched gymnastics as well. I was on the gymnastics team in high school for a couple years. Not really very good at that either, but I had balance, so could work the balance beam pretty well.
But I digress. Professional hockey. 2009. Hubby and the Devils. Yes. The 2008-2009 season. For some reason, hubby started watching hockey periodically. It was in 2009 almost the end of the season. I walked through and stopped just because I was curious. It was at that moment that a fight broke out on the ice and I thought that was the most amazing thing ever! At this time, I was still training heavily in Kung Fu, so the idea of a fist fight being legal in a sports event was amazing to me. And that one fight hooked me in. Watching the game, I finally noticed the chest patch on the opposing teams jersey and it was a penguin. So, I asked to be sure since the TV at that time wasn't huge and found that the team was indeed The Penguins. And I said that's it! That's the team I'm rooting for! And I have never looked back.
The Pittsburgh Penguins went on the win the Stanley Cup that year and the following year, hubby gave me a trip for Christmas to Pittsburgh over a long weekend to see the Penguins play on home ice the last season they played in the Igloo. They have made the play offs every year since, but have not made it to the Finals again since then. This year, they are in first place in the Eastern Conference and are a favorite to make it to the Finals. So, keep your fingers crossed for my team.
As the regular season draws to a close and the Play Offs are getting ready to begin, I thought it would be appropriate to read a book about hockey.
Book Description (From Goodreads):
Natalie Melter hates that her family made her leave sunny Arizona to move to Wisconsin but she’s even more upset that her dad, a former hockey player, tells her that she can move back to Arizona in the summer only if she makes her school's hockey team.
Natalie doesn't know the first thing about standing up on a pair of ice skates, but life in snowy Wisconsin is about to get a whole lot more interesting when the cute college hockey player next door decides to teach her the sport he loves.
Will Natalie put it together in time to make the team or will Shane be a distraction she can’t ignore?
Well, it is about hockey and the Kindle edition was only a few bucks, so I figured I'd give it a go. What I found was a sweet story about finding love in what could be considered the wrong place.
Natalie is a bit upset about her father uprooting the entire family, moving them from their home in Arizona where it is warm or hot all year long and taking them to one of the coldest places in the country, Wisconsin. Her dad is going to be teaching at the university where he played hockey. Natalie has never cared for the sport or cold weather. She's never seen a snow flake. She gets off the plane in Wisconsin dressed for 100 degree weather only to find snow smacking her I the face.
They get to the new house, but the furniture hasn't arrived and they have no where to sleep. One of the neighbors stops by to help them unpack, Joe Stanford and his son Shane. Mr. Stanford and Natalie's dad played college hockey together, so it's a happy reunion. Natalie, who can't see one good thing coming out of moving to Wisconsin, might have to rethink that idea. Shane Stanford is on the university hockey team and he is one hot looking guy.
Her plan is to go back to Arizona at the beginning of the summer and live with her grandparents until she goes to college in Phoenix in the fall. The only problem is her parent's won't let her go that soon and are trying to encourage her to make the most of her experiences in Wisconsin. So they proposition her. She needs to make the school girl's hockey team and then she can go back in June. But in order to do that, she will need someone to teach her the game. How convenient then that she happens to live a few houses down form the "Golden Stallion", as Shane is known, and he's willing to coach her. Really seeing no way out and seeing it as a means to an end, Natalie agrees.
Shane is a great coach who teaches her how to appreciate the sport, but also teaches her how to enjoy life on the cold frontier. She experiences a lot of firsts, like eating seafood, eating sauerkraut on a bratwurst, going skiing, etc. Things start to heat up on the ice and off. But as she spends more time with Shane, will she find that he is reason enough to stay in Wisconsin? Or is she going to follow through on her plans to return to Arizona as quickly as she can get there?
I know which I'd choose.
Let's Go Pens!