Don’t love ice hockey? Ever been to a game?

Published 8:00 am Saturday, October 30, 2021

It was not the first game my older son had been to, but it was the first for my younger son. They were around the ages of 7 and 9 and we were about to take our seats with their uncle Marc at a Jackson Bandits ice hockey game.

My oldest, Tobie, had been to a Mississippi Sea Wolves game on the coast for a birthday party, but other than getting a miniature hockey stick signed, he paid much more attention to his friends than the game. Besides, we were in the nosebleed seats, anyway.

This time, however, we had box seats courtesy of Marc’s employer and were right behind the glass. Marc and I were excited for the game, but the boys? Not so much, especially Devon, the younger one.

The game had just started as we made our way to the box. As we were just about to sit down, the face of one player slammed into the glass just inches from the boys’ faces and blood splattered.

Pause. “COOOOOL!!!!!” They yelled in unison and two hockey fans were born.

I don’t know if they watch it on TV like I do, but there’s just something about being at a live action game.

In early 2020, the Shreveport Mudbugs were playing on a weekend when we were visiting our Louisiana-resident daughters. The game also had a Star Wars theme, so I figured they would have a good time even if they didn’t enjoy the game.

So my wife and our three daughters — Jessica, Britain and Emma — went to the game in our jackets and skull caps and I asked the girls to please indulge me. Try to have a good time.

They didn’t have to try. They enjoyed all the sci-fi shenanigans — like a lifesize Millennium Falcon cockpit setup, a working full-size R2D2 droid, and Chewbacca riding the Zamboni.

But they also enjoyed watching the game. Hockey is constant movement and lots of action. As each one of my hockey-loving friends has agreed with me, “If you don’t like hockey, you’ve never been to a live game.”

A friend of ours had the opportunity to see the Boston Bruins — one of my two favorite pro teams, along with the Edmonton Oilers — not long ago. He’s now a hockey fan. Even bought a jersey.

RECIPE

How to make an ice hockey fan.

1. Take a person who’s never seen a hockey game.

2. Add ice (an in-person game).

3. Let it do what it do.

Yield: One hockey fan.

One day a while back my wife walked in the living room to see our oldest daughter Jessica watching an NHL game on TV.

“You broke my child!” my wife yelled at me.

When my son Devon was a student at Delta State, we went to a Mississippi River Kings game in Southaven. We sat behind the glass for only a couple of dollars more per ticket than the seats in the upper atmosphere.

We were cheering and yelling for the River Kings and a Pensacola Ice Flyers player playfully shook his fist at us. When that same player made a pass by us a couple of minutes later, he slapped the glass with his stick and startled us both. I think we laughed as much as he did.

What can I say? Hockey is just a lot of fun to me.

We’ve made plans to take our friend Sean Dietrich and his wife Jamie to a Pensacola game as soon as we can. He’s a baseball fanatic, but I’ve assured him he’ll love hockey too — once he sees it in person.

My son Devon and his wife recently moved to Columbus, Ohio, home of the Blue Jackets. I would visit them anyway, but during hockey season would be even better if we can get to a game.

Jessica recorded the Bruins game for me the other night because I was at a meeting and she thought I’d like to see it, even though Boston lost.

When my wife and I got home from work a couple of days ago, Jessica was watching an NHL game on the big screen TV.

I was still outside, but I could hear my wife yell at me.

“You broke my child!”

News editor Brett Campbell can be reached at brett.campbell@dailyleader.com.