Last year, my darling and I got bitten by the NHL post-season bug. By the time the Stanley Cup was awarded (to the Pittsburg Penguins – sad emoji), we’d seen the Nashville Predators play in 3 home games. We even had the privilege of being at the game in which they won the Western Conference and were presented with their trophy.The logistics of these trips to “Smashville” speak to our devotion (or insanity). We live just under 4 hours from our State’s capital, and made the trip and back each time in the same day.

Our first trip fell on a Thursday, all incredibly last minute. We’d been talking generically about getting tickets for several weeks, if not months, and Jay saw a Facebook post from a college friend about having extra tickets. He called me at 2PM, asked if i wanted to go and we were in the car heading west by 4PM. “Puck off” as my mother likes to call it was at 8PM, so we had no time to spare.

We arrived downtown, parked, and ran into the stadium just in time to see that the evening’s surprise national anthem singer, Kelly Clarkson, had already taken to the ice. At this point I didn’t have a favorite player, but the energy in the arena infected me right away.

I had a can’t-miss appointment at work the following day at 8AM, so Jay drove us back home immediately following the game. Sleeping anywhere under any conditions is a talent I’ve been blessed with, so I stretched out for a “nap” – falling asleep before we got on Interstate 40 and not waking up until we pulled into the driveway. We arrived home at 4AM, so I appreciated any sleep I could grab.

Over the course of 2 Western Conference Final games and 1 Stanley Cup game, I decided my favorite player was the guy with the cool on-ice celebrations (P.K. Subban) and the incredible goalie (Pekka Rinne). The only team gear I owned was the world’s most expensive “free” TV shirt they gave away at the game. Expensive because of the price of the ticket, free because they were on the backs of the seat and only in size XL.

Fast forward a year, and a bit has changed in our household. “Do the Preds play tonight?” is the question most asked each night, second only to “What’s for dinner?” Thanks to Christmas and birthday gifts, we now each have a sweatshirt (the ice can make the arena cold – even in June!), I have a tee that actually fits me, and we share joint custody of the Preds hat.

I meant to write today about our latest trip to Nashville for this past weekend’s Round 1, Game 2 against the Colorado Avalanche. Upon realizing I’d never done a written record of last year’s adventures, the obsession this year may not make sense.

The plan is to write up the round 1 game before (hopefully) they advance to round 2. If they do, we plan to be in attendance for at least one game. We want to be there to witness each round along the way, and would love to see them through to end end.

I can’t imagine any better gift the team could give the City to celebrate their 20th anniversary together than Lord Stanley’s Cup.