Our series "5 Reasons I Love Hockey" features puckheads from all walks of life revealing five things that either made them a fan or that keep them watching hockey. It will run every weekday through August. Enjoy.
Dan Tencer is the host of Inside Sports on Edmonton's 630 CHED and the host of Oilers Radio Network broadcasts. He's also a blogger and Tweeter. He's also our second Smythe Division representative this week!
With that, here are 5 Reasons Dan Tencer of 630 CHED Radio Loves Hockey:
1. My dad.
It's obvious, right? First NHL game, with my dad. First jersey, bought by my dad. Minor hockey practices at all hours of the morning, driven by my dad. The passion I have for the game simply wouldn't be there if it wasn't for him. We have an old VHS somewhere of the first Oilers game he ever took me to; it was televised and they kept showing me, the cute, fat kid in the crowd trying to stay awake. And there was my dad, back when he still had hair.
One of my favorite hockey moments came during the 07/08 season. After all the years of games that he had taken me to, I finally took him to a couple; made possible by the Oilers and my employer 630 CHED, I took him on a road trip with the team to see a couple of games down in Florida. We played some golf, and he took in the games in the Oilers fan section while I worked, except for the 3rd period of a game against the Panthers when I joined him down in the stands. The Oilers proceeded to score two goals in the final two minutes to tie the game, and then won it in a shootout. There we were, high-fiving and screaming our lungs out for the millionth time together while watching a game. It was perfect.
2. Rod Phillips
Set to return for his 37th season calling Oilers hockey, Rockin' Rod is an Oil Country legend. Like so many Oilers fans before me, I grew up listening to Rod call games on the radio with a palpable excitement, no matter what the score was. I'm, unfortunately, not a part of the generation that got to savour the five Stanley Cup victories; the calls I remember are ones like Eric Brewer(notes) in overtime back in 2001 to mark a nine-game winning streak. But man, if you're an Oilers fan, there's nothing better than listening to Rod call a big goal. He jacked up my excitement for the game like nobody else and, on a related note, made me want to get into radio. I've now been a part of the Oilers radio broadcast team for three seasons, and getting to witness Rod's passion for the game first hand has been an absolute thrill.
3. The Dallas Stars.
First of all, [Gretzky] you, Dallas. Games 3 and 7 back in 1997 were absolutely monster moments in my hockey life. After watching my team be absolutely brutal for four years, we finally won a playoff series. In Game 3 the newly adorned copper and blue came from 3-0 down late in the 3rd period to tie it and win it on a Kelly Buchberger OT goal. And yes, Stars fans, Mike Grier's(notes) foot was in the crease. [Gretzky] you. And then, Game 7. Oh, Game 7. The Curtis Joseph(notes) save and the Todd Marchant goal in the span of a couple minutes nearly gave an 11-year old Dan Tencer a most joyous heart attack. Following that series, the rivalry became something special. The two teams met in the playoffs six times in seven seasons, with Dallas winning all but the first one. I remember being at a game in Dallas right after the lockout; the Oilers had a 3-0 lead and blew it to lose in OT on a Sunday afternoon. Again, [Gretzky] you, Dallas. Without question, aside from '97, the Stars have our number. I hate them. And, I love it.
4. April-June, 2006.
It's what we live for. Playoffs. Magic. The Stanley Cup. There was a guy that used to work for my radio station who said on the air shortly after the '06 run that, if given the choice, he'd go back in time and keep it from happening because it hurt too much to go all that way and lose. I just about punched him in the face.
Brad Winchester(notes) with the winning goal in Detroit in Game 5. Shawn Horcoff(notes) blocking a shot with his face. Stoll in double OT. Fernando Pisani(notes) on crack. Hemsky to Samsonov to Hemsky. Torres laying out Michalek. Roloson robbing Cheechoo. Horcoff in triple OT. Jason Smith with the winning goal on a deke in Game 4. The emergence of the anthem. Whyte Ave. Getting decimated by the flu and still running over Anaheim. Craig MacTavish with quotes of gold the whole way. Black Eyed Peas entrance music at Rexall Place that you could never hear. Chris Pronger(notes) scores on a penalty shot in SCF Game 1. Jussi Markkanen(notes) takes over for Roloson and plays lights out. Fernando Pisani in Game 5. Fernando Pisani in Game 5. Fernando Pisani in Game 5. Demolition in Game 6. One game for The Cup. Heartbreak.
Yes, heartbreak. But the ride, the memories...so worth it.
5. Backyard Rinks.
Shinny, baby. I can't tell you how many hours of my childhood (and adulthood, for that matter) were spent screwing around on some pond, or community rink or in somebody's backyard (or driveway in the summer). A toque, stick, skates and a puck...and if you're lucky enough, somebody had goalie equipment. The snap of the stick when the puck hits it crisply. The carve in the ice on a tight turn. Seeing your own breath when shouting for a one-timer. Playing until the very last second before frostbite sets in. Winning the Stanley Cup over and over again in your mind. That's hockey, folks. Out with friends, just playing.