This weekend, the NHL celebrates Hockey Day in America. I feel like I should do a little bit of advertising for the game of hockey because I owe it a pretty hefty debt. I’ve had many great years as a player and a fan, but there is one fortunate occurrence that changed my life forever, and it’s all because of hockey.
When I was in high school, I lived and breathed hockey. It was all I cared about and all I wanted to talk about. In 1991, I was talking to a friend of mine on the bus, as we headed to school. We were discussing the St. Louis Blues game from the night before, but neither of us could remember who had scored the winning goal. I decided to ask the cute, blonde girl that I had noticed wearing a Blues jacket on several bus rides before, in hopes that she might know the player’s name. That was the first day that I talked to her.
We talked a few times after, I learned that she was a long-time Blues fan, and I eventually asked her out on a date – to watch one of my hockey games. I scored a goal and got kicked out of the game for fighting, so it was an interesting first date. I must have made an impression, though, because I would eventually end up marrying that girl I met on the bus. We have spent the last 16 years of marriage rooting for the Blues, and raising two little girls to appreciate the game as well.
So, the game of hockey really has given me so much more than I could have ever thought it would when I started playing as a child. In case you are wondering who it was that had scored the winning goal that night, the cute blonde knew the answer to my question was Cliff Ronning, but I’m really the one who scored big that day.