Long before Ariana Grande was all over the charts for her catchy tunes and filling stadiums around the world with her live performances, she’d gained some notoriety for a very different reason.
While growing up in Florida, she displayed an uncanny ability to get hit by hockey pucks. In fact, by the time she was only five years old, she’d been struck twice at Panthers games.
Hockey writer Mike Commito reminded everyone on Twitter recently that Grande was a vulcanized rubber magnet long before her singing, songwriting, and acting attracted international fame.
I just saw a picture of @ArianaGrande riding the Zamboni @FlaPanthers game in 1998, but the real story is that, by the age of 5, she had already been struck by two pucks at NHL games. She was actually the first person to be hit by a puck in the Panthers' new arena #FlaPanthers pic.twitter.com/9h1xSSPN7W
— Mike Commito (@mikecommito) February 9, 2019
Thankfully, Grande was fine after both incidents. And based on a response to Commito’s tweet on Saturday, Ariana’s bravery after being struck by the frozen rubber still registers in the Grande family all these years (and accomplishments) later.
Her mother is still very proud of Ariana for being hockey tough.
how cute is she??? this was the second time she got hit actually, right before the zamboni ride… but she was amazingly brave even then and wouldn't miss the ride…. proud of her then and now.. and honestly I still have that article on my refrigerator at my office..
— Joan Grande (@joangrande) February 10, 2019
According to a 2015 FOX article, Grande went to just about every single Panthers home game after turning two years old. The second time she was tagged by a puck occurred during Florida’s 1998 home opener in their new building, which is currently named the BB&T Center.
The puck had come off the stick of an unidentified Tampa Bay player and hit her in the arm. After shaking off the pain and dealing with the bruise that formed, she had the opportunity to ride the Zamboni during the first intermission. (Not a bad trade-off).
Coincidentally, according to a story in the Sun Sentinel from 1998, her mother was literally chatting to someone about the first time Grande was hit by a puck at an NHL game when she was struck the second time (she had taken a puck to the wrist off the stick of Gord Murphy in January of that same year).
Good for Grande for displaying the type of toughness that hockey prides itself on. While many of the sport’s top players flamingo due to the fear of injury, she was putting her body on the line for the team she loved.
I know I could have never done that. If that happened to me as a kid, I’d honestly have No Tears Left to Cry.
We can only hope that she learned from these early experiences at NHL games.
So, please Ariana, for the sake of your health, the next time a puck is flying in your direction, just move Side to Side.
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