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06-15-2011, 02:59 PM
  #195
TruckTruckGoose
Gunny
 
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Southern California
Country: United States
Posts: 14
vCash: 500
Hey Hey! I've been a follower of this board on & off for some time, this is my first post. I'm an active duty United States Marine with 11+ years (I'm a Gunny), and tours to both Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm an Arabic linguist by trade, as well as a water survival instructor and small boat coxswain. I love the water, I love to brew beer, I'm a huge metal-head, I love hot chicks that can skate and I love HOCKEY. My fanaticism in hockey and for the Blackhawks has a bit of a history, so bear with me...

I moved around a lot as a kid because of my old man's job, to include stints in southeast asia, west coast and east coast. My first introduction to a live hockey game was when I was a kid living in NJ in the mid '80s. My dad worked in NYC, but refused to go into the city on his off time due to the traffic. Thus, the Meadowlands was the logical choice (in his opinion) for a place to watch sporting events, and I went to many a Devils game with him. I was a little too young to really grasp/appreciate the sport at that time, and was honestly more excited to watch my childhood buddy get to play pee-wee hockey during intermission rather than the pros.

I really started to get into hockey when NHLPA '93 came out for Sega Genesis. I know, I know, it's a dang video game. Regardless, I lived in Reno, NV at the time, and hockey wasn't exactly a staple of sporting entertainment there. That video game literally taught me about the game, and about the players. It was at this point I started to get to know the Blackhawks, and due to my patriotism, became a big fan of all of the US born players; Roenick is still my all time favorite Blackhawk. As a matter of fact, I met JR at the celebrity golf tourney at Lake Tahoe one year, he actually came up to my buddy and I (we were fresh out of high school) and chatted us up. Our jaws dropped and I don't really remember being able to say much at all because I was in awe. It was pretty awesome.

When I started college (University of Nevada) I still really didn't identify with a team; I'd root for the Sharks back then because they were 'local' and were always such a HUGE underdog. I had two fraternity brothers that were hockey fans. One was a casual Blackhawks fan because of family heritage (he's been my best friend for 18 years), and one was a fanatical Rangers fan. I took up watching games with the Rangers fan because he was always watching the games, and I took them on as my team in the mid '90s. I was a huge fan (and still am) of guys like Richter and Leetch, and I guess you could say that I 'accepted' Gretzky and Messier as well.

I joined the Marine Corps after college at the beginning of 2000, and really didn't have the time or resources to watch games as a young jarhead. I married the coolest chick on the planet in 2001, and my love for the midwest started to grow as she's from Indiana. She and my mom in law took me to Chicago for my first time in 2002 for a Cubs game on a friday in July. I hadn't followed baseball since the strike in '95, and all my favorite players (I was a Twins fan as a kid) were gone. But all it took was to walk into Wrigley Field and I was sold. On that day I fell in love with the Cubs, and with the city of Chicago as a whole. Yet, because I really wasn't able to watch hockey all that much, combined with the debacle that was the '04-'05 'season', my gusto for the game was next to nil. I would say that it was when the 'Hawks drafted a certain Sioux player in '06 that I started following hockey again, albeit a bit slowly, as my side of the family is from North Dakota, and Sioux Hockey is all they know. It didn't hurt my interest either when a certain US born player was taken #1 overall in 2007.

Fast forward to spring of 2010--I had been on a 3 week field exercise in April, sleeping with the rats and snakes and eating MREs for 24 days straight, and had missed not only opening day but the beginning of the NHL Playoffs. My first saturday out of the field was April 24th, and my only goal that day was to watch hockey and drink beer. Fittingly enough, it was game 5 of the Predators/Blackhawks series, and this will forever be known to me as the day that the Blackhawks won my undying love. Kaner's SH goal with :14 seconds left had my heart racing, and Hossa's game winner in OT literally sent me flying, and screaming, off of my couch (much to the terror of my sleeping wife who works nights). My better half and I took a small vacation to Chicago several days later, sitting in the bleachers at Wrigley on Friday afternoon, and ponying up the cash to see our first ever game at the UC (game 1 vs. vancouver...ouch). The National Anthem alone at the UC would probably have been enough to say that the $400+ we dished out was worth it, but we had a great time meeting a lot of really nice 'Hawks fans and watching the game despite the final score. The only part of the Finals I couldn't stand was that I had mandatory pre-deployment training before leaving for Afghanistan, and I had to pull a 'Tommy Boy' during Game 6, running around a mountain on the backside of Camp Pendleton trying to get reception on my cellphone to watch the game. I nearly fell off a cliff when Kane slipped the puck underneath Leighton and made history, and had to hide in my sleeping bag so my Marines couldn't see me getting choked up (...understatement...) while watching Roenick's post-game commentary.

So there you have it, and I'm glad to officially be on these boards. I'm pumped about the Entry Draft, and I can't wait for October. I hope I can make a trip back soon, toss back a few of some of Goose Island's finest, and watch some more Hawk-ey at the UC.

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