I started watching hockey when I moved to Arizona in 2006 - so my 1st NHL Entry Draft was in 2007. Kyle Turris therefore, was the first player I saw my new favorite team draft. It was a very exciting moment for me. At that point, being a newbie to the hockey world, I had no idea who he was - but watching him be drafted, adorn my team's sweater and take the stage with Wayne Gretzky and Don Maloney brought tears to my eyes. It's a moment I won't ever forget.
|Photo Courtesy of The Phoenix Coyotes|
|Photo Courtesy of Life|
After the draft, I dove into Kyle Turris research. I wanted to know all about his junior career, his stats, his history, everything. I anxiously awaited rookie camp so that I could get my first glimpse of "my rookie" in action. I followed his college career that next season and when he joined the team in early April of 2008 I was ecstatic. I was there for his 1st NHL Game - and on January 13, 2011 at Jobing.com Arena - I watched him play in his 100th NHL game against the Maple Leafs. 100 games isn't too huge of a milestone, right? Well it is for Kyle, and it was for me. Overcome with emotion over the milestone - I rushed to the team store and purchased a #91 jersey to commemorate the day. Now to get him to sign it...
It just so happened that my fabulous season ticket holder seat-mate managed to get passes for us to meet the team after the game on 1/15/2011 against the Ducks (she knows people :) We visited with Ducks and Coyotes players as they passed the group of people awaiting them and chatted with the likes of Sami Lepisto, Lauri Korpikowski, Ilya Bryzgalov, Teemu Selanne and Taylor Pyatt. But I knew exactly whom I was hoping to see. Just when I thought we were about finished for the evening, I see Kyle's girlfriend - whom I've had the opportunity to get to know a bit via the internet - waiting patiently as Kyle chatted with and signed autographs for a group of young guys who were members of a youth hockey team from Winnipeg. She saw me at about the same time I saw her and we finally got to meet in person. I won't mention her name for privacy reasons but she knows who she is and I want to thank her and let her know that she helped make for an awesome night - so thank you!
After Kyle finished with the young hockey team - he came over to where she, my seat mate and I were standing and chatting and saw that I was wearing my commemorative Kyle Turris 100th NHL game jersey. He then signed it with his name, number and "100". The feeling I had at that moment is inexplicable. It was almost a "coming full circle" type moment for me.
So to Kyle & his girlfriend: I thank you for the amazing people that you are and the wonderful way in which you make each fan feel important and appreciated. NHL athletes, their families and loved ones are by far the classiest yet.
To my seat-mate who made the whole thing possible: girl, you already know I love you! But now I owe ya one... <3