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My Path, My Story

(Feature Photo Created by Emma Dowsett)

More and more stories deserve to be told. Here is the final part of Girls Club fan features!

NaTori Longshore (@NatoriNerd on X)

Favorite Team(s): The Columbus Blue Jackets 

Favorite Player: Jack Roslovic

Player most like them: Mitchell Marner

Fun fact: I will eventually learn how to skate, but as of now I’m a professional walk hugger! XD

How long have you been a fan of hockey? Eight years but more seriously the last four years

How has hockey and/or sports affected your life? Greatly! I got a huge following across my socials (Twitter & Tiktok) and I’ve made the best of friends through it all. 

What does hockey mean to you? Bring a unique group of people together, all being fun!

What is your favorite memory of the game? Going to my first college hockey game (go Redhawks!) It was a huge step for me since my grandpa passed, we shared the love of hockey together.

Shay D (@shadyladycakes on X)

Favorite Team(s): Seattle Kraken, Columbus Blue Jackets and the Carolina Hurricanes

Favorite Player: Vince Dunn

Player most like them: Yanni Gourde (short and feisty but always gives 100%)

Fun fact: I have a subtle Kraken themed tattoo!

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

How has hockey and/or sports affected your life? Sports have always been part of my life. My dad growing up always had sports on, but I never really got into it until my senior year of high school when my mom and I decided to follow the Seahawks. Sundays became our tradition. My mom and her wife make food, we drink coffee, and we watch football from the first game til the Sunday night game. Sports to me, remind me of those bonding moments with my moms. After that, when I heard that Seattle was getting a hockey team, I knew I had to be a part of that community too. It has brought me so many lifelong friends and amazing moments.

What does hockey mean to you? One of the coolest things I've ever been able to do is say that I've followed a team since their inauguration. I have been part of building a hockey community and franchise that will last for a long time.

What is your favorite memory of the game? My first trip to Seattle and meeting all of the friends I have made since the expansion draft. I won the Kraken fan contest and got two tickets to the final home game, where we saw the first shutout on home ice in franchise history. We spent all day together, bonding and laughing, and it felt like I had found a new family.

Miranda (@m.floress11 on Instagram)

Favorite Team(s): Dallas Stars and Texas Stars 

Favorite Player: Yes, I've been a big fan of the Stars' goalie, Matt Murray. It's been cool to see him both in the AHL and the NHL, and I can't wait to see what else he'll accomplish. 

Player most like them: That's a tough one. If I had to choose, I'd say Jake Oettinger. From what I've seen in games and online, he seems like an introvert but an extrovert with friends, and I definitely relate to that. 

Fun fact: I'm currently working on a crocheted, granny square Stars blanket with the Dallas and Texas Stars colors.

How long have you been a fan of hockey? I've been a casual fan since 2021, but I've recently become a huge fan within the past four months

How has hockey and/or sports affected your life? Sports have always been a part of my life. My parents are big football fans, so I was raised seeing the Cowboys play every fall. However, hockey has been a newer sport that I've become a big fan of, and I've met the sweetest people because of it, both in person and online. I've learned so much about hockey through the people I've sat by in games, and I really value and appreciate the community, especially the Dallas & Texas Stars community. Hockey has really helped me branch out and I've become friends with so many wonderful people. 

What does hockey mean to you? While I do love the fact that hockey is very fast-paced, I do also love how tight knit the community is. One of the ways I've learned about hockey was through the fans I've sat next to, who were kind enough to answer any questions I had. 

What is your favorite memory of the game? I can't really choose one, but the two that mean the most to me are when the Texas Stars were in the Calder Cup Playoffs, and the other was my family's first trip to a Dallas Stars game. During the 2023 Playoffs, the game was so intense and the crowd we sat by were cracking jokes left and right. At the time, I didn't know it was a playoff game, so I didn't expect the crowd to be as lively as it was. Even though we lost in the end, I honestly had such a good time with my family and the energetic groups around us. Our first Dallas Stars game was also a very memorable moment for me. My family and I were used to the smaller stadiums from the AHL, so when we saw how big the American Airlines Center was, our jaws were on the floor. The Stars were playing the Vancouver Canucks, and the game went into overtime. I believe we scored the winning goal within the last few seconds of the game, and the stadium went wild. It was definitely a game I'll never forget.

Kelsey (@goalieapologist on X)

Favorite Team(s): Columbus Blue Jackets

Favorite Player: Nick Foligno

Player most like them: Basic answer is Quinn Hughes, because I am good at my job while also constantly experiencing the horrors 

Fun fact: I love doing tarot readings about hockey! They have yet to steer me wrong

How long have you been a fan of hockey? Since 2020 - I have been going to jackets games since they became a team in 2000, but nobody in my family truly explained hockey to me and were always in a bad mood when we went to games (because the team is bad lol). It wasn’t until my best friend/roommate asked if she could put bubble hockey on during the pandemic that I had someone who was knowledgeable about hockey answer all my questions and treated my curiosity with compassion. Once I realized how fun it was, that’s when I truly started considering myself a fan!

How has hockey and/or sports affected your life? It’s opened me up to the world of other sports, and it’s given me the chance to direct frustration in a healthy way. I’m not the kind of person that lets a loss affect my night, but I love that hockey gives me a chance to go to a game and do a bunch of yelling to release energy in an appropriate way! It’s also deepened my friendships, especially with my friends who have become more recently interested. The best part is that it’s given me a reason to leave my apartment during the winter, which is no small task

What does hockey mean to you? I love hockey because it gives me a chance to unite with others through a common goal of watching our team, even if they struggle to win most of the time. I love caring about things, and hockey provides a space for me to be passionate

What is your favorite memory of the game? A completely inconsequential game in the grand scheme of hockey, but one of my favorite memories is the Jackets home opener in 2021 where we beat the Coyotes 8-2. I had finally started feeling like a true fan, and it was my first experience going to a home opener. The crowd was fired up and I loved hearing the cannon sound eight times, which isn’t something that the Jackets do ever. Being there with my friend and feeling that excitement was so special to me. 

Anna (@annalich_ on Instagram)

Favorite Team(s): Pittsburgh Penguins and Slovan Bratislava

Favorite Player: Probably Pavol Demitra due to how humble he was and his love and dedication for hockey

Player most like them: I would love to say I'm like Sidney Crosby but if he were an extrovert :D

Fun fact: I actually don't know how to skate and managed to badly hurt my knee trying :D And just a thing to add to the picture - goalies and trophies make everything better!

How long have you been a fan of hockey? Since I can remember honestly! My mom jokes my first real word besides mama and papa was Slovan :D 

How has hockey and/or sports affected your life? I met so many great people through hockey and through volunteering at other sports events. Right now hockey has even led me to continuing my career in social media management in an American football team, so I love that. I love how it made me a better human in general, I learned to think on my feet... And it never stops being cool when people are talking hockey and they're saying something stupid and you correct them and their jaws drop!

What does hockey mean to you? Hockey is quite literally life for me, I love it so much I worked in it for two years and I still would do it given the chance! 

What is your favorite memory of the game? Honestly my favorite memory is when I had the opportunity to do social media for the Slovak national television for a game back in 2022. Slovakia was playing someone? I don't even remember! At a Christmas tournament in Bratislava and the energy of a sold out arena was honestly out of this world... And it was the first real game I have worked, since I have only been doing social media in a beer league for half a year at the time, so I was on the verge of crying of happiness when we scored and I was standing there at the boards and the arena was going crazy... Beautiful memory that made me realize I can actually do that for a living, gives me goosebumps just thinking about it

Brianna L. (@b_lyon24601 on X)

Favorite Team(s): Detroit Red Wings, Vegas Golden Knights and Vancouver Canucks

Favorite Player: Nicklas Lidstrom

Player most like them: Ian Cole

Fun fact: I play hockey too (goalie!)

How long have you been a fan of hockey? Since I was a kid-eight years old [I'm 26 now!]

How has hockey and/or sports affected your life? It's given me a sense of joy and something positive in my life when I've struggled with depression and grief.

What does hockey mean to you? Feeling like I'm a part of something and having a sense of community. It also meant time with my dad!

What is your favorite memory of the game? Watching Vegas win the Stanley Cup in '23 and Detroit win in '08.

Sofia Shappell (@smakesthings on X) 

Favorite Team(s): Colorado Avalanche and the Seattle Kraken 

Favorite Player: Gabriel Landeskog

Player most like them: Cale Makar, I love Costco and have boring hobbies like he does.

Fun fact: I have a 2600 day Duolingo streak

How long have you been a fan of hockey? Since 2016

How has hockey and/or sports affected your life? It's given me a direction for my media and film interests. I love storytelling and I have found the place to do it.

What does hockey mean to you? It means community, joy, fun, and excitement. I've met so many wonderful friends from the hockey community and gotten a lot of opportunities from it.

What is your favorite memory of the game? The watch party for the Colorado Avalanche when they won the Stanley Cup. The whole arena was full like it was a home game, I had great seats, and I got to experience the win with my dad who started my love of sports.

Adrianna (@agallucci17 on X)

Favorite Team(s): New York Rangers, Penn State Nittany Lions men's and women's, Green Bay Gamblers and PWHL New York

Favorite Player: Igor Shesterkin

Player most like them: Quinn Hughes

Fun fact: I'm a student broadcaster on Big Ten Plus+, and one of my goal calls has received 159k views on Instagram!

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

How has hockey and/or sports affected your life? Sports have pretty much defined my whole life. Hockey, as well as baseball and wrestling, led me to Penn State, where I'm a broadcast journalism major. I've been able to make life-long friends with other sports fans and go to work with them. It's really a blessing to be able to do all of this at 20 years old. 

What does hockey mean to you? Hockey means everything to me. It's one of the reasons I'm studying journalism -- so I can be a beat reporter or analyst for a team one day. 

What is your favorite memory of the game? I traveled to Long Island in October 2023 to cover Penn State's season-opener against Long Island University. I was named a Men's Hockey Insider for CommRadio, Penn State's student-run radio station. This was the first time I got to broadcast a Penn State hockey game and got to participate in postgame media with coach Guy Gadowsky and two of the players. I also got to write a game recap and go into the media the next week with questions prepared. This was the first responsibility I had as an insider and started the best experience of college so far.  

Editor: Soleil Dam

Photos submitted by each girl

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