I grew up in the 90's when the Mighty Ducks movies were popular, hockey video games were popular, roller hockey was popular and I just fell in love with it. Part of the reason I liked it was because no one else in my rinky dink town liked it (or seemed to), so it seemed cool. But as time wore on, more and more people picked up the game and I thought that was awesome. But being a kid of the 90's, those were the years of Hull and Oates that transitioned into Al Mac, Prongs, Courtnall, Pavol, and my favorite--Pierre Turgeon. I've always been a supporter of my local teams, so the Blues were an easy fit living in Southern Illinois.
What really got me hooked were three things. The first game my Dad took me to was to see Gretzky, Luc and the Kings play Brett and Co. at the Old Barn right before it closed. He took me down to ice level for shoot around, got to see Gretzky up close, then we made the long, long hike to the very top row to our seats. I was hooked and I'm so thankful my Dad took me to see #99 and the Old Barn while they were still in commission.
As corny as it might be, I love playing hockey video games growing up and it's how I learned about offsides, icing and the two line pass. Dad and I would play for hours and I got to learn the players names for all the teams (shamed to say I really enjoyed playing as Sergei Federov on NHL '96 on Super Nintendo) and that led me to watching hockey on ESPN and ESPN2.
And crazy as it is, the lockout in '04-'05 made me realize how much I really loved the game. Baseball was my sport growing up, but in the early 00's, I started watching more and more Blues games. I remember taping Game 7 of the 2004 Stanley Cup final on my VCR, because I knew it would be the last hockey I'd see for awhile. After the lockout ended, I started going to games more with friends and getting cheap tickets because the Blues were so bad. And from there, I was hooked. Attending a live hockey game is like no other. And that's that...now I'm obsessed and watch as many of the 82 games, plus playoffs, that I can. It's a disease that I'm glad I acquired.