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08-05-2008, 08:38 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Jersey City, NJ
Country: United States
Posts: 4,543
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I grew up in central NJ, and while I was always into sports, my family really wasn't, so it was really a complete toss-up for me as to which team I would eventually become a fan of. Hockey was always big in my neighborhood, but we had fans of basically every team running around - Rangers, Devils, Flyers, Bruins, etc., so the choice wasn't as simple as following my friends. The first NHL game I went to was a Devils/Habs game at Brendan Byrne Arena, in 1992-93 I believe. I still remember seeing the big ice for the first time, and watching Stephane Richer light up his old team. I was well on my way to becoming a Devils fan, but thankfully(?) the Rangers stepped in to save me.

A friend of mine gave me an extra ticket to a game at MSG later that season. The excitement I felt as a suburban 12 year old emerging from the Penn station steps and into the Garden for the first time was just ridiculous. The buzz in the building, the crowds, the smell of dirty water dogs (my family didn't go to NYC much); the experience was just different and 1000X better than the game in the swamp, which until that moment I thought was amazing. I've been a die hard ever since, and I was lucky enough to see them win right away.

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