From the Tomahawks Intern Desk…
The Tomahawks are extremely lucky. We not only have amazing and dedicated fan support along with passionate coaches, front office staff members, and players, but a tremendous wealth of young and talented interns who are an integral part of our organization. While they work hard bringing their skills to all different areas of the team – from ticketing and business to marketing and public relations – each and every one has what we consider a must-have: an unbeatable knowledge and passion for hockey.
With that said, we wanted to give voice to our incredible staff of interns with short feature pieces written by them. To being, over the coming weeks some of our interns want to share with you – our fans – the moments that made thme fall in love with this sport in hopes that you can relate. No matter what your age, we want to get you thinking back to your first exposure to the game that we all love.
The Moment I Fell in Love with Hockey
By Jess Lee
I still remember the game that changed my life. It was the 1998 Stanley Cup Final; I was just five years old. The Detroit Red Wings vs. the Washington Capitals at the MCI Center in Washington DC. Doug Brown gave the Wings a 4 -1 lead in what was Game 4 in a series in which the Wings had a 3-0 lead. The Keeper of the Cup began to shine the most beautiful trophy in all of sports. The 3rd period dragged to a finish as Gary Thorne made it official, “The Detroit Red Wings have won the Stanley Cup for the second year in a row!” Vladimir Konstantinov, paralyzed earlier that year in a car accident, was rolled onto the ice to join his team. Team Captain Steve Yzerman lifted the Conn Smythe trophy for an incredible playoff performance and replaced it with the Stanley Cup a few moments later. Yzerman skated past the standing players on the team and placed the cup on Konstantinov’s lap. I remember the MCI Center crowd erupting at that act of Yzerman’s. The joy on Konstantinov’s face was unforgettable. At that moment I knew there would never be another sport that would match what hockey is to me. I fell in love with hockey because to me it is fast, hard-hitting, strategic, and takes a lot of talent, heart, and practice. And for that, I have to thank my dad.
Growing up in Detroit, my dad was an avid sports fan. He liked many sports but had a passion for the sport of hockey. Maybe it came naturally to those who lived in what was and still is known as “Hockeytown.” When he moved from Detroit, the passion for hockey didn’t leave, no matter how many states he lived in. So I guess you could say I was born with hockey in my blood. From my earliest memories in Omaha, Nebraska, where I was raised, I remember watching hockey at all levels from college to the NHL. On a pro level, I grew up watching the Detroit Red Wings and I still consider the Wings to be one of my favorite teams. My favorite players growing up were Brendan Shanahan, Steve Yzerman, and Chris Osgood.
A sudden move to Maryland in 2003 allowed my admiration for hockey to grow even more as we settled just 50 minutes Northwest of the Nation’s Capital. I was finally in a state where a professional team existed. Though at the time, the team’s record was pitiful, and the number of fans oddly favored the opposing teams each game. I quickly became a fan of the Washington Capitals. My parents jumped on the opportunity to purchase season tickets because the Capitals terrible record allowed for cheap tickets. There is something about being a fan of a team you’ve watched grow. It became a passion and an adventure. Even after our most recent move to the city just east of the rival team, Pittsburgh, I still remain a diehard Capitals fan and hope to one day see the Capitals lift their first Stanley Cup.
Though my heart lies in Washington D.C., I enjoy watching any teams go head-to-head. I enjoy venturing to different states to watch other NHL teams in their hometowns. I have obtained much more respect for other players by doing so. My favorite players in the league right now are Pavel Datsyuk and Alex Ovechkin because of Datsyuk’s incredible skill with the puck and Ovechkin’s passion, strength, and scoring ability. Jonas Hiller and Braden Holtby are my favorite goaltenders. They both have a remarkable amount of confidence, an unbreakable mindset, and are incredible to watch.
From keeping up with the latest news in the NHL and working at my internship with the Johnstown Tomahawks organization to recreationally playing hockey and attending my family’s hockey games, hockey has become more than entertainment – it has become my lifestyle.