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The Journey: A new hockey fan enters the fray

Our newest writer is beginning his hockey journey

NHL: San Jose Sharks at St. Louis Blues Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Editor’s Note: This is the first post from Ryan, our newest writer. He’s just starting to follow hockey and has chosen to hop on the San Jose Sharks bandwagon. We’ll be following his journey as a hockey fan throughout the season. This post serves as an introduction to that series -- please give him a warm welcome!

I am hoping to regularly contribute to this fine community and document my courtship with the NHL, specifically the San Jose Sharks. With this in mind, I wanted to start off with a fairly brief introduction. I live in Oregon but after years of casually playing various hockey video games and enjoying floor hockey whenever gym class would allow, I am finally deciding to take the plunge and really try to get into hockey this year.

I basically have two reasons for doing this. My primary reason is that my brother is currently stationed in North Carolina (an hour from Raleigh) and has really gotten into the NHL over the last few years. Yes, you read that correctly, my brother never cared much about hockey until he moved to the South.

This odd turn of events seems about as weird to me as the thought of somebody moving to Utah and really getting into jazz (the music not the basketball team). I talk to my brother about once a week and I really like the idea of following hockey so that we have one more thing to talk about and help us stay close despite our immense geographical limitations.

Even odder is the fact that he doesn’t like the Hurricanes but actually lists the Bruins as his favorite team and also cheers for the Capitals and the Blackhawks. I’m sure I’ll mention him more in subsequent posts but since he is the main reason why I am doing this I thought I would give some background info on him.

My other reason for devoting some serious time into learning about hockey is the fact that I have two young kids (Son – 4 and a half and Daughter – two and a half) and thought it would be fun to learn the sport along with them. I was in Calgary a few weeks ago for work and bought my son a pretty nice hockey stick and am looking forward to letting him shoot racquetballs at me in the garage with his new favorite toy.

As a follow up to buying him a hockey stick, I took my son to a Portland Winterhawks game last Saturday and we had a great time. We paid $50 for two tickets in a suite which gave us a great view while also letting him run around the suite.

My son last Saturday at the Portland Winterhawks game. We each got two free hats – one from Toyota and one because I am a veteran.

I’ve spent this week listening to as many hockey podcasts as my work day and commute allow. So far my favorites are the Steve Dangle Podcast, Marek vs. Wyshynski, TSN Hockey Analytics and of course, Fear The Fin and Dudes on Hockey. I’ve tried to watch a few games this week but my work schedule and two little monsters make it difficult. However, I was able to watch most of yesterday’s game and although the Sharks lost, I really enjoyed being able to watch my new favorite team.

Although I spent a few weeks debating whether I should pick the Sharks or the Canucks (the much closer team) as my favorite, I was finally convinced by my brother and another friend of mine to pick the Sharks. Vancouver is much closer to Portland but I’ve been an A’s fan for a long time and still have family in the bay area so the Sharks still make a lot of sense.

Besides, 4 year old boys think Sharks are much cooler than whales so it makes sense to pick the team that will resonate with my son the most. I look forward to sharing my learning experience with all of you but am especially excited to hear what kind of advice this community provides as I try to increase my puck knowledge.