Our fourth #AHLFanFridays winner is Brenda Mathewson, a Hartford Wolf Pack fan who has supported the team since 1997.
I remember being excited for the first season of Wolf Pack hockey in Hartford in 1997. The AHL reached out to some of the downtown business community for support for the new team. The summer before the start of the season, it was talked about a lot around the office. My family and I started going that first season, and I am as enthusiastic now in 2015 as I was then.
We’ve been to a lot of games over the past 18 years, brought our daughter and nephew and their little friends, collected our share of mini sticks, bobble heads and stuffed Sonars. We have also collected our share of great memories as well, most recently the thrilling run for the Eastern Conference Finals the guys made this year, even following them up to Worcester for the home games that were displaced from the XL Center in May.
For years I would walk over to the XL Center box office and buy tickets for the games, chatting about the team with the ticket sellers at the box office. Now after 35 years of working in downtown Hartford, my company has relocated, so I have one of the season ticket plans, so my tickets will be mailed to me.
Now that the kids are grown up and gone, it’s just me, my sister, and my husband going to the games Friday and Saturday nights. Hockey is the sport that carries a lot of history and meaning to my sister and I. We grew up with that tradition, being of Canadian descent. My husband is a convert. He keeps us out of trouble and apologizes to whoever is sitting in front of us when the game gets really exciting and I start the high pitched screaming. I just love the game and I love watching how the team evolves over the course of a season. The execution of the plays becomes sharper, the passing crisper, and the saves more thrilling. The boys start to gel as a group, and the game just comes alive. We are always happy for them when they win, and still proud of them when they don’t.
One thing that I have always admired about the AHL in general and the Wolf Pack in particular is their commitment to charitable causes. From the Teddy Bear Toss to the 50/50 raffle and the food/clothing drives at the games for local groups in need, the Wolf Pack does it each week. I recently became aware of the internet practice (such as #HockeyFightsDV) of donating to charity based upon a dollar amount for each goal scored or point/save made. So this year I plan on upping my personal ante of my Pack fandom and making a pledge to donate a dollar for every goal scored to the local Hartford women’s shelter, Interval House.
Am I the Wolf Pack’s biggest fan? I think I have some competition. It’s great thinking back on some of the players who have come through the AHL in Hartford, and equally as great to see the newest ones. Perhaps I look upon things with a little more nostalgia than the younger fans. But that doesn’t keep me from looking forward to the Wolf Pack’s newest incarnation every October. In fact, I can hardly wait!