Offseason does strange things to a fan. And while it's possible to fill some of the void with talk of free agency, there's still the painful reminder every other night that there are no games to be played and no hockey left to watch and no reason to li– okay, you get it. But it does bring thirty or so hours a week back into your life and the readjustment can be ... er, interesting.
Well, at least it was for me. It started the way I figure it starts for most of us: the final buzzer sounds, you take some time to look back at the season and decide for yourself what you liked, what you didn't like, what you would change, which port you would choose to ship off Girardi, etc., etc.
But I did all that through a veil of disappointment, one I had been wearing since December. And once I realized that the headpiece had given me no such head peace, once I realized that the veil had to be removed, the bigger problem fell into my lap with a new, terrifying question: "Why this team?"
I became a hockey fan in late 2012 and the Rangers were the team I chose. Why? Because if I were to open up Google Maps right now, a tiny, red pin would drop down onto New York City. That's it. I live here. As do the Rangers. They live here, too. And so, unknowing of the various histories, traditions, rivalries, lions, and tigers and bald-headed broadcasters, I dove right in and opened my heart up to the game. And to me, the Rangers were hockey. I knew nothing else. I was Jon Snow: adorable, and naive.
But as many of us know, a strong relationship is one tested by adversity. And the onset of hardship is almost always echoed by that same question: Why them? Why are we here? Where is this going? With no familial ties, no sweet childhood memories of run-down-and-since-renovated arenas, and no club-specific initiatives that attracted and later bound me, it had become more and more difficult to defend this team to myself, and to others.
And so, naturally, that deep introspection prompted me to think of NHL teams as dating prospects. Because, I mean, maybe the Rangers actually are The One. Maybe they will get the final rose in the end (is that how that works?) Maybe deep down I knew this team was the Sam to my Gilly when they rallied behind Martin St. Louis to win Games 5 through 7 against Pittsburgh in 2014, and again against the Canadiens to win the Conference Final (there was no Stanley Cup awarded that year, I don't know, let's move forward.)
But maybe they're not. Maybe I have to see what else is out there. Maybe I have to, you know, date a few other teams. Try some different jerseys on for size...
Like I said: offseason does strange things to a fan. So, in thinking of how to approach "dating hockey," I went the obvious route of traditional, Elizabethan era courtship: the dating app. My male/team suitor can be just a swipe away! ... Only such app had not yet been devised. This is why I am here, folks.
Here is what I imagined the hockey dating app to look like, with cartoon hockey sticks representing all 31 teams [hehehe], and short, individual bios to accompany each. Click through to see each profile, and enjoy the hockey dating experience I created for, you know, reasons.
And there you have it. In other news, my mother’s creeping suspicion that I will never marry has now officially been validated.