For me, family is tied in with almost every hockey memory I have.
I went to my first hockey game when I was thirteen. My uncle had season tickets to the Philadelphia Flyers, and I was lucky enough to occasionally get to go. There's nothing like seeing a game live: the smell of the ice, the brush of cold on your skin, the sound of skates carving a path across a frozen field of play, and the slap of the stick against a frozen rubber puck. Then there's the energy in the building and the speed and finesse of the game. All of it is completely awesome.
I started watching almost every game after that. Back then, the home games were broadcast on a paid cable channel that we didn't have. I'm one of six kids, and money was always tight. I will never forget and always appreciate the sacrifice my parents made to bump us up to the sports package just so I could watch more of my boys in orange and black. (My parents are amazing and I'm so lucky to have them).
My dad also once took me to an open practice. And he was totally cool with waiting around afterward to see if I could get a player's autograph. I managed to get two that day: Flyers great Bobby Clarke (during his second stint as GM for the team). And Rod Brind'Amour. Rod was a powerhouse, a workhorse, bleeding orange and black at every game. He was already one of my favorite players, but he impressed me so much that day because he stayed to sign every jersey and answer every question. Not every player did that. But sharing that experience with my dad, who was likely exhausted from working two jobs, meant a lot to me.
One of my favorite hockey memories is when my brother caught a puck at a Philadelphia Phantoms game. At the time, the Flyers' AHL affiliate played in the arena across the parking lot from where the Flyers played. We had great seats -- only a few rows up from the ice -- the closest I've ever sat at a game. It was just him and me. As the puck flew toward us, all I could think about was "if he gets hurt, Mom is going to kill me." Thankfully, no injuries, just the coolest souvenir possible. He's always been my buddy, and sharing that experience with him was really special.
When I met my husband, hockey was one of the few things we had in common. (Opposites attract!) He's from Buffalo, NY and was a Sabres fan. In the beginning, it was sometimes hard to watch a game together if our teams were playing each other. But in the years that he's been living in Philly, he's slowly converted to Team Flyers. J I love watching the games with him and chatting about news and rumors. Thanks to NHL TV, we can now watch every team and every game. You guys, we follow so many players and teams now…
So, hockey and family are tied together for me. I loved watching games with my dad and brother, and now, my husband. I don't have kids, but my cousin has two daughters and we're thrilled that they live close by. I can't wait to take them to their first hockey game and share my love of the greatest game in the world.
If you like hockey stories with a strong focus on family, check out my Buffalo Bedlam series (I set it in Buffalo as a nod to my husband, who is incredibly supportive of my writing career. I love my city, so a series about a Philadelphia hockey team is in the works. You can sign up for my newsletter to stay up to date on all of my new release news.).
* This post is a cross-post with the HockeyRomance.com blog page -- updated weekly by hockey romance authors to give you the inside story on books, inspiration, and writer's life.