What does your list contain? Meeting hockey legends like Gretzky or Messier? Watching your team win a Stanley Cup or a Calder Cup? Watching every NHL and/or AHL team play during one season, or perhaps, over your lifetime? What are your MUST DO’s?
My list contains an assortment of things. Some items on my list will be very difficult, or almost impossible to obtain, while others are potentially very doable. For me, it is all about the journey, the collecting and connoisseurship. And yes, there is an element of connoisseurship to collecting hockey items and ephemera.
My Hockey Bucket List.
- Attend a hockey game in the Roman coliseum in Pula, Croatia. For more about this amazing event see my earlier post.
- Attend a hockey game in the Davos, Switzerland arena. An amazing hockey cathedral.
- Attend a series of European hockey games in various leagues and countries: Russia, Switzerland, Sweden, etc.
- Attend a Stanley Cup Final game to determine the Champion. I’ve attended Stanley Cup Playoff games, but never a Final Game to determine the Cup Champion. Preferably, I would like one of the following teams to be playing: Vancouver Canucks, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lighting, Nashville Predators, Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers, Buffalo Sabres, or New Jersey Devils.
- Watch the OKC Barons win a Calder Cup Championship.
- Attend hockey games in all 30 NHL arenas. I am about one-third of my way through the list and hope to get to Vancouver someday soon to watch a game at Rogers Arena.
- Attend hockey games in all 30 AHL arenas. I have only made it to three so far: Oklahoma City, OK (OKC Barons), San Antonio, TX (San Antonio Rampage) and Cedar Park, TX (Texas Stars).
- Hockey Jerseys: I would love to have an original game worn Detroit Red Wings Igor Larionov jersey, but I think that falls under the Impossible Dreams category. So, perhaps a game worn Canucks jersey, and a Fayettesville FireAntz jersey – just for the name alone!
- Hockey Jerseys: A set of jerseys belonging to one player in every league – minors through NHL. A friend collects Original Six jerseys for players from his alma mater and he has done well, but at least one team will need to draft one of these guys in the near future! Dear Montréal Canadiens ….
- Hockey Jerseys: I also like the idea of collecting a set of jerseys with one number: The Number 8. Think of the possibilities! Igor Larionov (Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils); Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals); Justin Abdelkader (Detroit Red Wings).
- Attend a Penguins vs. Islanders brawl … er, rather game. Just like that Feb. 11, 2011 game: 17 fighting majors, 59 penalties, 300+ penalty minutes and 9 game misconducts. At the end, the Penguins had 6 skaters and the Islanders 9. Now, I don’t like fights, but rivalry games are fun. Yes, this went far beyond that, but just once, I’d like to see a crazy wacko game like that in person.
- Last on the list, but perhaps more important than all the rest: I want to be able to watch as a few young up-and-coming hockey players’ hopes and dreams are realized. As you get to know some of these young players, learn more about them, listen to them talk about their passion for hockey, the game itself takes on new meaning. You watch from a different perspective. It can be painful, and even heart-wrenching, but at the same time it is also far more intense, and the rewards are so much more than ever before. I very much would like to witness their first NHL games, their first NHL goals and even their first time in an NHL penalty box. Precisely what memories are made of.