Do you remember your first hockey game?
I never really learned to skate so my first hockey game was at Northlands Coliseum, watching the Edmonton Oilers host the Los Angeles Kings in the early-mid 90s.
I can’t tell you who won or what the score was. As odd as that sounds, none of it mattered. It was all about the experience of going to the game with my dad and the thrill of watching my heroes on the ice for the very first time.
Hat trick, offside, icing: such easy-to-understand terms, thanks to the inundation of the sport on TV, radio and the newspaper.
Now just imagine going to your first hockey game without ever watching hockey before in your life.
Suddenly a hat trick seems like something that would involve a rabbit, offside has to be something bad, and who doesn’t like icing on their cake?
Last week, my cousin Rui attended his very first hockey game in Geneva, Switzerland. He recently moved there from Portugal and was super excited to take in a piece of “Canada’s Game.”
The defending Swiss League champions SC Bern took on Genève-Servette HC.
“I am going to my first game of hockey!” he proudly shared in an email.
I told him he’d love it but he was cautiously optimistic: “We will see.”
*Fun fact: Did you know former Edmonton Oiler Mark Arcobello plays for SC Bern? (he notched a pair of assists)*
Rui was blown away by the atmosphere and no matter where you live, we’re all in awe of the Zamboni and dream of one day driving one.
As the puck dropped, it was rapid fire questions:
How many periods?
Of 20 minutes?
His excitement grew with the quick pace, the big hits and overall energy.
“Are you enjoying the game?”
“Yes! A lot! I’m the new fan!”
A new fan who was still a little confused, wondering when halftime was. But these are all things he’ll learn in time. It’s tougher to be a hockey fan in Europe but the excitement is just the same.
When the dust settled, SC Bern skated away with a 5-3 victory. While the home team couldn’t pull out the “W,” my cousin is already looking ahead to his next hockey experience.
“I love it! Next game the match vs Lausanne… C’est un derby!”
I think he’s hooked on the good old hockey game.
So why share this story?
Too often we get caught up in sports. We focus on who should be traded, the analytics of the game and playoff scenarios. Sometimes, it’s good to just sit back and enjoy it for what it is: a great game that brings so many of us together.
So what was your first hockey experience like? Drop me a note on Twitter @GlobalJesus or leave a comment at the bottom of this page.
© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.