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The NHL Strikes Gold: The New Fan's Perspective

VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 28:   Sidney Crosby #87  of Canada waves to the fans after receiving the gold medal following his team's 3-1 overtime victory during the ice hockey men's gold medal game between USA and Canada on day 17 of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at Canada Hockey Place on February 28, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Matt EurichAnalyst IMarch 2, 2010

As the lamp light up following Sidney Crosby's game winning goal, I thought to myself one thing, the NHL is going to love this.

I have never considered myself much of a hockey fan, a novice at best.  I still do not think I can describe what it means to be "offsides" or even why it is common phrase to say "the goalie stood on his head", but I do know that because of the Olympics, the NHL has found at least one new fan.

I cannot say that I am truly new to the sport, as I have been following the Chicago Blackhawks off and on since I can remember and have become more of a follower since the reemergence of the young team and their deep playoff run last year.

Coming into this year's Olympics I knew the names of most Blackhawks players and a few of the NHL stars, Ovechkin, Crosby, Brodeur, Iginla, and various others, but at the beginning felt no desire to actually watch a game.

The first game I tuned in to was Team Canada versus Switzerland.  I missed most of the first two periods and found myself mesmerized by watching these two teams go at it.  I understood that Canada was the heavy favorite, but the Swiss continued to fight back.  The game went into overtime and ultimately to a shootout, and from there I was hooked. 

Team USA played a hard fought game against the Canadians in the last of the preliminary games and I found myself pumping my fists and cheering on the U.S. as they beat the "mighty" Canadians.

The tournament wound up with the match up that most people wanted.  It was amazing to see the U.S. go down 2-0 and fight their way back to a 2-1 deficit and later tie the game with under a minute to go.  I was on the edge of my seat as the overtime began, and like many Americans, watched in disappointment as Sidney Crosby scored the game winning goal.

Never before have I felt compelled to watch a hockey game that did not involve the Blackhawks, but after watching these Olympic games I feel a desire to watch the members of Team USA play with their respective teams as they fight for a chance to win the Stanley Cup.

I hope that I am not the only one to feel this way, as these Olympic games have helped setup the NHL for continued success.

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