I never played hockey. No one in my immediate family played hockey. In fact, no one in my immediate family knows much about the game. But thanks to my husband and 24 years of going to college hockey games I can proudly admit that I LOVE hockey.
My favorite team is the University of Minnesota men’s hockey team. We’ve had season tickets for years, so our date nights from October-March are often to Mariucci Arena on the U of M campus. The arena might be a wee bit chilly, but that’s part of the charm. Once you get 9,000 warm bodies in the arena to cheer on a dozen players speeding up and down the ice you warm up.
The first games I saw confounded me. I never saw the puck. All I saw was a bunch of over-stuffed uniforms moving like ants whacking at the ice with sticks and ramming each other into the boards with resounding thuds. I only knew a goal was scored when the arena exploded in cheers and the players jumped on each other in celebration. I never understood the penalties. I never made out plays.
Slowly things began to change. I recognized player and coach names. I learned terms like checking, high-sticking, penalty-kill, power play, icing, hat trick. I knew that North Dakota was the enemy on the ice. And best of all, I saw plays taking shape on the ice and the puck going into the net as a result.
In 2002, I knew enough about hockey to thoroughly appreciate the luck of the draw when we got tickets to the NCAA Frozen Four championship in St. Paul. When we applied to get the tickets we had no idea that the U of M team would be there. But not only did they get into the Frozen Four, they won the NCAA title. And we were there! (Proof is the framed display on the wall of our home office.)
Since then I’ve had a love affair with hockey. My family back in Iowa think it’s strange since I grew up cheering on high school football and basketball teams. But after living in Minnesota all these years, hockey fever was bound to catch up with me.
So why am I writing about hockey on my “Embracing Hope” blog? Because a couple of weeks ago an idea popped into my head as I sat in Mariucci Arena: A sequel about a hockey player and a fashion entrepreneur. If you’ve read “Embracing Hope” you might find one of the characters. If you haven’t read it yet, but want to figure it out, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll enter you in a drawing to win a free copy of “Embracing Hope.” Deadline to enter is March 1.