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My Path, My Story

(Feature Photo Created by Emma Dowsett)

The community of female hockey fans is a big one and is continuously growing. Whether you’ve been a fan for 20 years or three years, everyone has a story and here is the place to hear them.

Nehrayaa (@nehrayya on Instagram)  

Favorite Team(s): New Jersey Devils, PWHL Toronto, Chiefs Leuven and I’m slowly becoming a Nashville Predators fan!

Favorite Player: Sidney Crosby

Player most like them: Honestly I think I might have to go with Jack Hughes. I say this because when he was drafted everyone was happy and then he had a rocky start to his NHL career from the low point scoring rookie season through injuries. People started doubting him and his ability to play. But he proved everyone wrong and is still proving his worth to the league and world. And I can relate to that.

Fun fact: When I was three I was given all thirty teams' logos and was told to choose a team. And me, being self absorbed, chose New Jersey because their logo had an N in it and my name started with an N. I blame it on me being three years old and not knowing better. But I have been a fan of New Jersey since. 

How long have you been a fan of hockey? I have been a hockey fan quite literally since I was born!! I got into it more the older I got.

How has hockey and/or sports affected your life? It’s always been in my life. Yes, teams win and lose - but the team itself was always there. Whether I was sad or happy - it’s been there for me. Whether I was three or 20 - it’s been there for me. It’s been the thing that grounds me when things get tough and I need a place to make me feel safe. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s my safe place!! It’s my home away from home.

What does hockey mean to you? Hockey means everything to me. It’s more than just a sport that brings me joy, but it is a way of life. The thrill of watching the games, the camaraderie with fellow fans, and the excitement of seeing your favorite team win are all aspects of why hockey is so special to me. I know that there’s so much more to life than hockey. But sometimes being a NJD fan kinda sums up who I am. 

What is your favourite memory of the game? My favorite memory of the game would be back in 2010 - when Team Canada won the gold. And Sidney Crosby winning it for us in OT.  I remember being at  home watching the game with my mom, dad and sister and being so disappointed that the game was tied up by Zach Parise in the last couple seconds of the third period. I was so sad and being an emotional eight year old I started crying because I really wanted my team to win. And when OT started I remember feeling sad but that’s about it. And then Crosby scores and wins it!!! And I was dancing and celebrating like it had been me who had scored the goal!! 

Hannah Peterson (@hannahpetie on Instagram) 

Favorite Team(s): Anaheim Ducks

Favorite Player: Jonas Hiller, Jakob Silfverberg, Trevor Zegras

Player most like them: Trevor Zegras

Fun fact: I signed up for figure skating lessons at age 11 because of the Disney movie “Ice Princess”

How long have you been a fan of hockey? 10+ years

How has hockey and/or sports affected your life? Hockey has affected my life in so many ways. I was never involved in sports growing up, and certainly didn’t think it would play such a meaningful role in my adult life. But hockey has filled my life with a sense of purpose and drive, introduced me to wonderful people, and pushed me out of my comfort zone. 

What does hockey mean to you? To me, hockey is joy. Hockey is a sport that brings people together and teaches you lessons that are applicable to everyday life. Hockey is a community that provides players and fans alike with a meaningful connection/purpose. 

What is your favorite memory of the game? The Comeback on Katella will always be my favorite memory as a Ducks fan. 

Lydia Manning (@_lydiamanning on Instagram) 

Favorite Team(s): St. Louis Blues and Maryville University Saints

Favorite Player: Al MacInnis

Player most like them: Colton Parayko - too nice and sometimes it gets me in trouble.

Fun fact: Pat Maroon went to my high school, so my school dance team was invited to be in the Stanley Cup parade. I met so many players!

How long have you been a fan of hockey? Since I was little

How has hockey and/or sports affected your life? In every possible way, as I’m now working as a college hockey reporter and have had opportunities I could have never dreamed of.

What does hockey mean to you? Hockey means everything to me. Though I never played, it was and still is a huge bonding experience for me and my dad, and is one of my biggest interests.

What is your favorite memory of the game? When the Blues brought the cup home in 2019. Watching the time wind down and knowing it FINALLY happened, especially after that season, was insane.

Anna Saez (@sillycannongirl)  

Favorite Team(s): Columbus Blue Jackets

Favorite Player: Rick Nash

Player most like them: Nick Blankenburg

Fun fact: When I was in high school I got to be in a music video of one of my favorite bands at the time. "Zombie" by Family Force 5

How long have you been a fan of hockey? 20+ years

How has hockey and/or sports affected your life? Because of my love for the sport, I've made more friends than I can count. It's giving me something to hold onto when winter seems so bleak. It's a source of joy and comfort. 

What does hockey mean to you? Hockey is my release from life and my happy place during winter when my SAD is at its worst.

What is your favorite memory of the game? I think I would say that when I went to the Rick Nash number retirement ceremony with my best friend. There was something in the air that night seeing the Blue Jackets play hard to honor him. Also seeing the puck drop that Nash did between captains Boone Jenner and Nick Foligno. The photo still gives me chills.

Caitlin Burns (@caitlinn.marie23 on Instagram)

Favorite Team(s): Toronto Maple Leafs and the Colorado Avalanche

Favorite Player: Cale Makar

Player most like them: Mitch Marner, he seems to match my hyperactive personality

How long have you been a fan of hockey? Three years

How has hockey and/or sports affected your life? Hockey affected my life by helping me find a career path. When I was in my senior year of college, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my degree and felt lost. Hockey became an escape from having to think about that, and then I realized it could be a career path to combine something I loved and my future job.

What does hockey mean to you? Finding love for hockey helped me find my career path so it means everything to me. It helped me realize my passions and find a place where I fit in.

What is your favorite memory of the game? I have two favorite memories. My first is attending my first live NHL game in the Wells Fargo Center with my mom, seeing the Maple Leafs win against the Flyers. My second is watching the Avalanche win the Stanley Cup.

Deana Weinheimer (@deana.weinheimer on X)  

Favorite Team(s): Columbus Blue Jackets, Tampa Bay Lightning and the Cleveland Monsters

Favorite Player: Martin St. Louis

Player most like them: Trey Fix-Wolansky: never gives up, cares about his team, and has a flair for the dramatic

Fun fact: I started working in news at age 16, working as the afternoon news reporter for WTNS in Coshocton, OH

How long have you been a fan of hockey? 26 years

How has hockey and/or sports affected your life? Hockey has given me an outlet for my interests and skills that I otherwise wouldn't have been able to have. Traditional sports media is hard to break into, especially for women. But hockey, especially the AHL, embraces the fans and those wanting to elevate the sport in a positive way.

What does hockey mean to you? Hockey has led me to some of my closest friends, amazing opportunities, and to cities I never thought I’d get the chance to visit. What started out as casual fandom turned into a job in 2019, working as a member of the media in the American Hockey League. Four years after that, I started my own news organization, The Calder Times. I've been able to build a platform for some of the most dedicated journalists across the AHL, both men and women alike.

What is your favorite memory of the game? Covering the 2023 AHL All-Star Classic in Laval, QC. To see the Laval and Montreal community embrace the league and the best minor league players with such energy, love, and excitement was beyond anything I've ever experienced. Being able to interview players like Joseph Woll, Alex Nylander, and many more is a weekend I'll always cherish.

Editor: Soleil Dam

Photo Credits: Submitted by each girl

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