It was Winter 1995 and all I had wanted for my birthday was a My-Size Barbie. After weeks of begging and pleading my parents gave in and I got the doll of my dreams. My brother’s gift to me was a birthday card with two red playing cards inside. One was a Sergei Fedorov card and one was a 1993-1994 Chris Osgood rookie card. At first I was confused and ungrateful, but when I looked closer I fell in love. They were so dreamy. This is when my lifelong love affair with the sport and the team began.
The next year, my parents surprised me with the best birthday gift I’ve ever gotten – a tiny red jersey with a white winged wheel on front, and “Fedorov” and the number 91 on back. Just five days after my 8th birthday, Sergei Fedorov became one of 44 players in NHL history to score five goals in a game. During the Spring of 1997, my parents helped my brother and I paint “GO WINGS!” in huge red letters across the sides of my mom’s Suburban for the playoffs. There were Red Wings flags on the windows and a broom sticking out of the sunroof as we prayed for a sweep each round. Everywhere we went people honked their horns and cheered as we drove by. That year the Detroit Red Wings went on to win their first Stanley Cup in 42 years.
During the 1998 Stanley Cup finals I experienced my greatest memory as a Red Wings fan. I was lucky enough to attend a home game during the final round and had dinner with my family at the Whitney prior to the game. The Whitney is a pretty fancy restaurant but we felt comfortable walking in wearing numbers 19 and 91. A waiter approached our table and unbuttoned his shirt, revealing the winged wheel that was embroidered on the jersey that he was hiding underneath his tuxedo. After that night my love for the game and the Wings only grew.
And now, I love driving down Woodward Ave and seeing the Spirit of Detroit statue wearing the biggest sports jersey I’ve ever seen. I love walking into the Joe and seeing a giant sea of red. I love going to away games and seeing just as many people in the audience wearing Wings jerseys as the jerseys of the opposing team. I love reading articles from the Phoenix newspapers requesting that their fair-weather fans not wear Red Wings jerseys to the games at Jobing.com Arena. I love when the fans at the Joe go nuts when a dirty, slimy Octopus gets thrown on the ice. I love that someone had to sneak that octopus into the arena by putting it in their underwear or under their hat. I love the game, and most of all, I love our team. Red Wings fans are a different type of sports fans—we’re an entirely different breed. Hockey is what we live for in Detroit—it gives people faith and hope that one day Detroit will rise again and be one of the greatest cities in the world. There is a reason they call this Hockeytown.
I’m a social worker and a graduate of both Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. I hope that Blake and I can share our love for the Wings with you as we present our views on the latest from the greatest. I’m new to blogging so if you have suggestions or feedback please email me or find me on twitter. Go Wings!