Happy Father's Day From OTF

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My dad took me to my first NHL game - I don't recall the date, but I do remember that the Detroit Red Wings hosted the Atlanta Flames at the long-gone Olympia. I can still see the scoreboard (a collection of good old-fashioned light bulbs) and feel the stickiness of the floors (presumably due to decades of fossilized beer spills) as we'd climb the stairs to get to & from our seats. After that, we had years of skating at either the neighborhood rink or on the pond in front of our house, which froze over perfectly for a few weeks every winter.

When you're a kid just learning how to skate, there's nothing better than have your dad tie your skates up, give you a pat on the shoulder, and let you know that falling down is perfectly OK - his hand will be right there to help you get back up.

One of the great things about the atmosphere at Nashville Predators games is how family-friendly it is. I've never had a problem with bringing my wee folk to a game, something which can't be said of every team in the league. I know compared to the rest of Bloggers Row I'm not up there in the press area very often, nor do I stay into the wee hours of the night after interviewing players post-game in the locker room. Frankly, I'd rather be in the stands with one (or more) of my kids, creating our own special moments.

I can still finger-point the exact instant, for example, that my youngest got bit by the hockey bug - it was in the 2008 playoffs, when the Predators scored twice in 9 seconds to beat Detroit. It was a piece of magic that wasn't just about what happened on the ice, but how the entire building erupted in a moment of stunned jubilation. His eyes grew wide as saucers, and he could yell & scream along with the masses, without being told to settle down. Will he look back in a few decades and recall that moment like I did? I can't help but wonder.

So I ask you, Dear Reader - what are your favorite hockey-related Dad memories?

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