Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hockey musings…

I’m watching the Sharks-Hurricanes game, and I’m reminded why I stated watching hockey in the first place—because of current Carolina player Ray Whitney.

Ray was the first player I chose to pay attention to when I attended my first NHL game in 1994, Sharks versus Winnipeg. Ray was all over the place that night, and oh he was so very cute! I always felt the Sharks gave him a raw deal during the 1996–97 season. At the time they had a horrible coach named Al Sims who, for whatever reason, decided Ray was “too small” and undermined his confidence.

During the summer of 1997, on the day we were getting ready to go to a swim meet, the San Jose paper announced Ray’s contract had been bought out. My daughter and I were just devastated; that's what happens when you get attached to a player.

I did not watch SJ games for about two years, and made it a point to attend games when the opponent was Ray’s current team. So I’ve sat through Edmonton, Florida, Columbus and Detroit games just to see Ray play. I’ve not seen Ray play since the ‘Caines won the Stanley Cup in 2006 though.

I don’t tend to buy hockey memorabilia, but the one game-worn jersey I do own is one of Ray’s from the 1995 season, when he wore #14 with the Sharks. I do wear it occasionally, too. I also have a bunch of Ray's cards, including a one-of-a-kind card from when he was with the Florida Panthers, a card I got at a shop in Toronto. Back in 2000, that card was worth $80. I got it for a whole lot less by trading tennis memorabilia with the store owner.

The next player I want to have win the Cup is Owen Nolan, who plays for the Minnesota Wild, and then Scott Hannan, who plays for Colorado.

I seldom watch the Sharks since they let Scott leave two summers ago as a free agent, when SJ would not fire their coach as a condition of Scott staying and providing a hometown discount. A season too late, then-coach Ron Wilson was fired, but Scott was long gone to the Avs for a big fat $4 million+ contract. He hasn't played very well since he left San Jose.

There is no one on the team whose personality interests me. Guess their marketing department isn't doing such a great job.


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