I’m caught between two teams: my hometown team and my home team. But, it’s an amazing opportunity to have been a part of both team’s histories and battles. I feel lucky.
As a staunch Red Wings fan, I’ve been criticized for my lack of scope. My hockey mom pal Michelle woke me from my one-sided love, “Oh Heidi, there’s more teams than the Red Wings.” True. She should know; she lives in Boston, is a Bruins fan, but loves her hometown San Jose Sharks.
So now that the Red Wings are pacing their stride in their division, the expectations that once were sky high have become a let down. Meanwhile, the Colorado Avalanche are steamrolling through their division and have stunned many by exceeding expectations. All of this doesn’t change the club, rather conveys the natural order of change. I have been blessed with the Yzerman Era in Detroit, and the Sakic Era in Denver. It is my sole purpose to glorifying two different types of hockey cities in this commentary.
Hockeytown will always be in Detroit. The Red Wings are equivalent to the Canadiens for Montreal. It’s just in our genetic makeup and we can’t be punished for sticking with the lifelong team, the team of our childhood. My memories of hockey in Michigan are my foundation for my love for the sport and influenced my understanding of the game. Respect is the name of the game in Detroit, and any hockey fan cannot forget that. Detroit deserves a ton of respect, and that’s just good hockey. Textbook hockey is what I hear from fans of the Red Wings. Pure hockey fans love the Red Wings. We’re the Yankees and Cowboys of the NHL. But we’ve had our bumps. The Wings went through a forty-year drought as a team, but the Wings fans held on. Oh, and then there’s Gordie Howe. Aretha Franklin wrote her iconic song Respect in Motown, Hockeytown.
When I saw Joe Sakic on a fire engine holding the Stanley Cup, I knew I was a fan. Having moved from Ann Arbor to Denver, the Avs weren’t here yet. A few years later, I was standing downtown watching the Stanley Cup parade go by. What an awesome team the 1996 Avalanche were; truly, hockey at its best. But Denver still isn’t a hockey town like Detroit. I meet too many people who aren’t interested, yet the Avalanche fans are the most polite people I’ve ever encountered at a hockey game or hanging out with at morning skates. When I tell them I’m also a Wings fan, they tell me they’re sorry, But they still talk to me about hockey. DU Pioneer hockey has always been my link with Colorado, and the Pioneers just celebrated 60 years on ice. That’s tradition.
The series of playoffs games between the Detroit Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche were an exhibition of old-time hockey greatness. Steve Yzerman and Joe Sakic together on the ice fighting for a right to represent the Western Conference starting in 1996, is classic. The Avalanche came in as the new kid on the block facing the tested and true Wings.
Avs fans love to razz me about the Wings mediocre season, and the Wings fans tell me I’ve “gone to the other side.” I’ve always been diplomatic in my approach to relationships, and this is no different. I like the New York Rangers too because my husband gave me his Rangers jacket from the 1980s. My nights are spent watching hockey and writing about the sport I can’t live without. I’ll watch any game, any team.