Category: Puck Bunnies


While I am sure the recent personalization of my Texas Stars jersey is going to land me on Puck Daddy‘s Jersey Fouls post, I can honestly say I am very happy with the way it turned out. I bought my Texas Stars jersey last spring when I moved back to Austin after a four-year stint in our nation’s capital. Hungry for hockey after falling in LOVE with the Washington Capitals, I returned to my roots and decided to check out the Dallas Stars’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate in Austin…the Texas Stars. Having never watched AHL hockey, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised to discover that the game is just as exciting as watching the big club. Some of these players bounce back and forth between the AHL and NHL clubs and often are traded around to fill in gaps on the parent clubs rosters throughout the season.

For this reason, it’s very hard to remain “player loyal” in the AHL.  I feel terrible for the merchandise team as they are constantly struggling to figure out who the “hot” player of the moment is, often only to fill t-shirt orders just in time to see a player traded or called up to the big club. The Texas Stars don’t sell their jerseys with numbers or names on them for this reason. Personalization is not cheap and jerseys have to be shipped off to Frisco to be embroidered, but fans are permitted to customize a jersey pretty much however they wish.

During last season’s Calder Cup run, I had a few favorite players for the Stars – forwards #14  Jamie Benn (who I KNEW would be headed back to Dallas this fall), #11 Aaron Gagnon (who I figured had a decent shot with the big club), #27 Greg Rallo (who I hoped would be back, but knew was on a one-year deal with Texas) and goalie #33 Matt Climie (who I would have placed bets would be gone Day 1 of free agency after the stellar playoff run he had). I was hesitant to commit to a number/player’s name for my jersey because I didn’t want it to be outdated in less than a year and honestly wanted it as a memory of our storybook first season in the AHL.

So, the solution? Make it mean something to me. The spring of 2010 was when I first started covering Texas Stars hockey forExaminer.com. Many will argue that Examiner is not a legitimate news outlet and honestly, I can’t say that I truly disagree. I don’t have an Editor, I don’t get assignments, and I don’t have deadlines. However, I write in the journalistic style of a major news outlet and I believe I give the Texas Stars some of the best coverage out there. Rather than simply regurgitating press releases, I write my own stories and look for my own twists on things. As a result of this coverage and my connection to social media, I was able to connect with agent Scott Norton of Norton Sports via Twitter, who represented Matt Climie of the Texas Stars. Climie was about to face a difficult free agency period and I wanted to do a profile piece on him.  Norton was nice enough to hook up this rookie journalist with an interview and as a result, I wrote one of my best pieces to date. So that is why the #33 – first ever exclusive interview and true turning point for me where I knew that there was no option for me but a career in sports.

As for the name, I didn’t want to do Climie for two reasons. First, there are enough female Texas Stars fans who swoon over him I was afraid I’d totally give the wrong impression. Remember, I’m not a puck bunny!! Second, I knew he would be gone as soon as free agency started. Instead, I decided to go with the name that now almost 1,000 Twitter followers and hundreds of readers at Examiner.com know me by: TXSTARSGIRL. It’s the end of my bit.ly link and my Twitter handle and I knew that no matter what I went on to do in sports, this was always going to be the true beginning.

So what does the future hold for me? I still don’t know. I have applied for several jobs around the NHL and AHL, but still haven’t landed the perfect one. I’m holding out for a sales/marketing/PR type job and have realized that I just don’t want to settle. In the meantime, I am still bartending at Third Base downtown and writing. I’ve picked up a couple of new mostly unpaid writing gigs, which I’ll be talking more about soon. They will be added to my “Blog Roll” here as well in time. Thanks to all of you that read…I have really enjoyed connecting with new fans and friends this year.

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A girl at work yesterday asked me if I’d ever date a hockey player.  I have to admit the question caught me a little off-guard.  See, most of the people I know are quite aware of my sports obsession.  However, they are also quite aware that it is a legitimate fandom, not some silly crush-fueled love of a sport due to tight pants, chiseled muscles or the desire to be a trophy wife.  A few weeks ago I spent a couple of days at the Dallas Stars development camp in Frisco, Texas. I went to check out the new talent, hoping to catch a glimpse of who might be joining the AHL team in Cedar Park next season and also wanting to see if goalie prospect Jack Campbell lived up to the hype (he does by the way). While I was there however, I noticed something a little odd…I was the ONLY female there for most of the camp. Yes, there was the occasional girlfriend that popped in on her boyfriend’s arm (looking extremely bored the whole time I might add) or the mom-types that came to watch their kids at camp, but as far as true spectators of the sport…yep, not many. This really got me thinking about female hockey fans and the image we get stuck with most of the time. Call them what you will, puck bunnies or other less-friendly terms, but most people think that girls are only interested in hockey because they are hoping for a chance to hook up with/date/marry a hockey player.

I’ve loved sports all my life. Yes, I was introduced to hockey by guys I thought were cute, but the reason I kept watching had zero to do with those guys and everything to do with the fact that I simply grew to love the sport.  Hockey is an intense sport.  It is fast-paced and rarely do you catch a break in the action, except maybe to send someone to the penalty box (and usually what got them there was pretty intense to begin with) or for major injury. The game moves at lightning speed and is always exciting. More than that for me however, is just a huge amount of respect for the skill and talent these athletes possess. I grew up watching football and have always loved the game, but the day I grew a tremendous amount of admiration for hockey players was the day I threw on a pair of ice skates. It is difficult enough to skate forward and these guys are skating backward, turning on a dime, and somehow managing to track a puck and handle being pushed around by other players. There is an unbelievable amount of skill required to go pro in this sport.

It’s great to see some professional hockey teams working to build their female fan base by actually teaching ladies about the sport.  The Washington Capitals, for example, host Hockey n’ Heels each year (which sells out quickly for the record), which features instructional lessons and on-ice demonstrations by coaches, media and the broadcast team. Of course, you are still going to have those that show up just for the opportunity to meet players, but it is nice to see the team at least making an attempt in making these girls true fans.  I’ve also run across several other female bloggers that either play hockey or are genuine fans, which has been really refreshing.  I must admit I was very proud to have been added to a Twitter list recently called “Hockey Non Puck Bunnies.

So, to return to the original question – “Would I ever date a hockey player?”  To answer truthfully, I’d have to say, “Sure…but not BECAUSE he’s a hockey player (or any other athlete for that matter).”  I’d definitely hold any hockey player to the same ridiculous standards to which I’d hold any other guy accountable.  Furthermore, he’d have to deal with the fact that I live and breathe sports – hockey and football mostly, but I’ll settle for soccer or basketball if it is all that is available.  It’s just who I am and what I do. I put a priority on watching important sporting events and definitely let game outcomes affect my moods at times.  I can talk stats and strategy with the best of them…even if I do notice a hot guy or two every now and then!