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SIX PACKS ON ICE, NHL BLOG: Thank You Hockey World

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Being from the South, it’s a little uncommon to like hockey.

Let’s face it – we freeze when it’s about 40-45 degrees outside. I’ve seen snow in Alabama only twice in my time on earth. Football is what people here live for so when a friend introduced me to a local hockey team, I had no idea what it was.

Sure, I’d been to a couple of games when I was younger, but back then the team was called the Huntsville Channel Cats so all I remember is people throwing catfish on the ice, which is almost as strange as throwing an octopus I suppose.

This time was different, though. I was in my teens, and I went with friends who actually liked the sport. I had no clue what was going on, but I found myself wanting to learn. I spotted a player who seemed to do well so I watched everything he did. Soon enough, I began learning.

I remember thinking the player was predicting where the puck would be and seemed to always think three steps ahead.

Later I found out Wayne Gretzky once said, “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”

So now I know that player must have been as great as I thought.

After that game, I was hooked. The Huntsville Havoc is a team in the Southern Professional Hockey League, and I went to every Havoc game I could.

I couldn’t get enough, and I began watching NHL games when they were on.

I found myself loving and hating certain teams. Sidney Crosby was always the “It” guy so I found myself rebelling against liking the Penguins. I always root for the underdog so I gained a certain a liking to the player who seemed would be Crosby’s nemesis – Alex Ovechkin.

(Side note: I was young and, like I said, rebellious back then. I like Crosby as a player now. Who can deny he is an awesome player and great for the sport?)

My father was in the Navy, and I was born in Norfolk, Virginia so the Capitals were my hometown team you could say. I may have moved when I was one, but I still claim to be from Virginia.

After a while of watching hockey, I couldn’t help liking other teams so I decided I would like the Anaheim Ducks from the West and the Caps from the East. My most disliked team? Detroit Red Wings. Yuck!

Hockey became my passion, even though it was very difficult to find someone to talk to about it. Usually people would just look at me like I was crazy for liking such a “yankee” sport.

It’s funny thinking back on how much going to that Huntsville Havoc game changed the course of my life.

While at a Havoc game a couple of seasons later, I overheard some men who had obviously had too much to drink talking about how women didn’t understand the game of hockey. I wanted to say something, but I held my tongue like the lady I am, or at least try to be.

Later I discussed those guys with one of my friends, who played hockey. At the time I was about to go to college and major in English. During my rant to him I said something to the effect of, “I’ll show them! Women do understand the game of hockey! I wish I could prove it and write about it or something!”

He responded, “Why don’t you? You totally could do it.”

That was it. Everything made sense. I knew how the course of my life was going right at that moment.

I decided I was going to become a sports journalist and write about hockey.

Unfortunately there wasn’t that much hockey around to cover, but I delved into anything I could hockey-wise. I interned with the South Eastern Collegiate Hockey Conference (SECHC) during college and covered every University of Alabama hockey game the two seasons I attended. (Yes, the University of Alabama has a hockey team. Most Southeastern Conference schools do.)

After graduating, I found a job as a sports reporter at a small newspaper in Alabama. Before I had been pretty close to some ice complexes, but then I had nothing within about three hours.

I still desired to write about hockey so in my opinion pieces that’s primarily what I wrote. After about my third hockey article, my publisher asked me to stop writing about hockey because, “This is the South. No one likes hockey here.”

I was heartbroken. How could I not continue writing about the sport I love? It wasn’t fair. I had to find a way.

That’s when I stumbled across Babes Dig Balls, miraculously.

It was like it was meant to be. I had an outlet to still cover hockey, the best sport in the world in my opinion.

To work with women, who are all very knowledgeable of sports, was a dream come true. I finally felt I had found a place where I was understood. They wouldn’t question whether Alexander Ovechkin was my favorite player because of how attracted to him I was or wasn’t. They understood I lived and breathed hockey.

The writers at BDB are really like a family. We have each other’s backs. We’re incredibly supportive of each other. Sometimes we even disagree, but that’s perfectly fine.

All in all, I feel as if even though I’m a Southerner, I’ve found a home and some babes I can call a family. I’ve found an outlet to rant and talk about hockey, and I love it!

So this is my thank you to the hockey world allowing me, a girl from the South, into your world.