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Huntington, NY • United States •
I just took the time to read through the "About Eklund..." column next to his blog. What a read, at times I felt like he was describing my own childhood. Although I'm a slight bit younger (6 years), I feel the same passion for the game of hockey as much as he does. I grew up on Long Island, NY during the New York Islanders dynasty years, and also the 1980 "Miracle on Ice". Even at 6 years old I was consumed by this game. I didn't have to press my ear against a radio to hear games like he did, but I would watch every game that I could. I remember my father had a wood box with a loud horn in it and a red police light on top, and every time the Isles would score a goal it would go off as if we were in the Coliseum. My mother had the scores of every game in every series taped on the house's front window so all would know how OUR Isles were doing in the playoffs. My dad would also take me to the Islanders practice facility that was about 5 minutes up the road and I would run around the rink and pick up pucks that would come over the boards. I had so many pucks and eventually he used them to shoot them at me so I wouldn't be scared of the puck, since I wanted to be a goalie like him. I have pictures and autographs from all the Isles greats. Clark Gillies would buy me pretzles and Gerry Hart would play pass the puck around with me on the floor. Great memories.....
Also like Ek, growing up in the Northeast, I was more of a street hockey player then an ice hockey player. Only during the winters when the streets were covered in snow did I make the walk down to the park where the lake froze over to partake in some pick up ice hockey. My school work also took a backseat to my true passion. Ek's part about the waterlogged ice hockey pads hit close to home also. My father was an ice hockey goalie and after he had a bunch of knee problems he stopped playing and handed down those goalie pads to me. We use to have intermural hockey games in our junior high gym and I would bring those pads in and play goalie. Although I could never move in them I felt like a professional wearing them. I would go to make a sliding save and when the pads hit the gym floor I would stop dead in my tracks. I didn't make much sense but I loved wearing them all the same. Looking back I also remember that all the "older kids" that I played hockey with were all Ranger fans so one year, going against family values, I asked Santa for a Rangers Jersey. Of course I didn't get it until I got to my grandmothers house. She handed me this over stuffed wrapped box and when I opened it and pulled out my new Hanlon jersey I was so happy, until a loud serinade of boos came from the rest of the family. I quickly realized that it wasn't the smartest of choices that I made in my life. Needless to say I outgrew that faze real quick. The Isles were the only team for me. My parents were happy to replace that said jersey with an Islanders blue away jersey with my last name on the back and everything.
Now, I don't know were I'm going with all this, but I felt the need to blog (my first). Just reading Ek's blog made me feel the need to document my own feelings about this sport. My passion for this game far superceeds all other sports. I honestly didn't know what to do with myself during the lockout year. It was horrible. I'm happy to see it back and in full swing. I love this game. Let's go Islanders !!!!!!
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