Ever since I was eight years old, there has been one love in my life that has not gone away. While my fellow classmates were obsessing over the latest Barbie Doll or the new computer games, my passion and allegiance laid elsewhere.
When the New Jersey Devils still played at the Izod Center (then the Continental Airlines Arena), I was fortunate enough to go to my first game. The legend Martin Brodeur was standing right in front of me and Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrick Elias were skating close by. However, at the time I did not know how important those players were. Despite my huge crush on Scott Gomez, it wasn't the players who captivated me.
It was the energy of the people sitting all around me. Electricity crackled through the air whenever the puck was dropped by the referee. Cheers, whoops and funny chants were being thrown out all over the arena. During that point I looked at my mom and she knew I was absolutely hooked.
Even now, while most girls today look forward to sweaters and hot chocolate during the winter, I'm looking forward to a nice, long season filled with those same moments I was fortunate enough to experience as a child. Through hockey, I have been able to bond with some of my best friends and have met so many amazing people.
Unlike baseball or golf, hockey is three periods filled with action. During certain games, the puck could drop in the first minute of the first quarter and fights would break out. My mom always jokes around that when you watch a hockey game you cannot leave to go to the bathroom in the middle of a period because you might miss a game changing moment.
So here's to my love affair for hockey, one that keeps getting deeper and deeper. Here's to all of the wins, losses and overtimes I have seen, to all of the players who have come and gone. Here's to all the laughs and tears we have all had and all of the playoff beards we have seen grown. Here's to the best sport in the entire world and one I will stay loving until the day I die.