By Rob Kneeter, Brooklyn Born and Bred
Hockey can mean different things to many people. It could be something to watch as people love to see the fighting. It could be something to watch to pass the time. It can be something that is stumbled upon by someone just flipping the channels. It can be something that people will watch if there is no NBA next season….but to some…hockey has shaped their life… something that every true fan can relate to… Hockey isn’t just about the game, it’s about the experiences that derive from it. With every experience there are friends and family right next to you…creating the same memories.
March 19, 1994 – I as a 12 year old boy I moved to West 8th street in Brooklyn off of Ave P. I really had no idea what to expect. We pulled up with the moving van, emptied it out and I began to set up my new room. What I heard next would change my life and influence me up to this very day. It was a bunch of kids playing hockey…
Now I’m sure every reader here can reflect on thefirst time they played in a meaningful hockey game. This was my first real game. What I had noticed of the kids playing hockey for an hour or so, was they had no goalie. Boy were they in luck … I just happened to have a brand new pair of Mylec goalie pads, a stick and a Jason hockey mask. My NY Rangers starter jacket would come in handy as a quality chest protector.
So with this, I made my way outside … to be the goalie. There watching me exit my house and onto the street would be Tommy J, Rob D, Mike and Steve S, and Nick S. I was welcomed with open arms, as it turned out no one enjoyed being in between the plastic pipes.
Out of these friends I would later meet my close friends of today Anthony S and Ricky C. And all of us continued to play on the block. Ignoring the cops that would come to stop us and that parents that hated us … all in the name of lifting the West 8th Stanley Tin Foil Cup (5 out of 6 time champ writing here).
And of these friends I would continue to create memories of the team in blue that we love with all our broken hearts. Memories that I could go on and on about but that we all share. And I’m sure, with each of your memories you know exactly who you were with.
And that is the point of my rambling. This sport has created not only memories for us all … but friends that you could not picture your life without. Life may take you in different directions, but those friends will always be a part of those memories.
I wasn’t sure what I was going to write when it became my turn. So I went from the heart as sometimes you just wish you can go back to certain moments. I left Brooklyn and moved to LA in 2008. From there I ended back Scottsdale and will be moving back to AZ. With each move I am leaving people I love behind, but they are never forgotten in my heart of my mind. So I am writing this to say thank you to all of them and here is hoping to still create more memories …
But I would like to end this by saying thank you to my friend Mike. I met Mike playing hockey that first day I moved to West 8th. Little did I know that a hockey friendship as kids would become brotherhood as adults. Mike, I would not be the man I am today if it wasn’t for you and your family. I am beyond proud to be able to stand next to you as your best man next year. Thank you.
On that note … LET’S GO RANGERS!