Because we're on the verge of passing out, we'll keep this brief: Laura is awesome. You can follow her work on Wazzupwitchu and she recently became a member of St. Louis Blues Gametime, the awesome and gigantic Blues blog for Sports Blog Nation. Congrats, Laura aka Hildy aka Hildymac, and thanks for your contributions!
Here goes... I was little, so there might be a few mistakes in there somewhere. But hey, who can remember back to when they were 8, huh?
Growing up in St. Louis, as anyone who is from there can tell you, there is one game in town: Cardinals baseball. Everyone eats, sleeps, and breathes it - the Post Dispatch would give a Cards/Cubs game bigger coverage than if the Mississippi flowed backwards again (look it up - swear it happened). The Cardinals and their ten World Series wins are the pride and joy of St. Louis sports, and while I will be a Cardinals fan until the day that I die, there's another team in town who I love just as much - and I don't care that they haven't won the Cup.
When I was probably 8 or so, and how this started is iffy, I began watching Blues games on TV. KPLR showed (and did so with some until last season) the Blues home games, and I guess flipping around TV I landed on one. When I was that age, well... that was the beginning of the age of Hull. Luckily I started watching during the end of the Hull and Oates team-up, so I got to see that amazingness first hand. I was fortunate to begin my tenure as a bona fide fan of the Blues during the era with CuJo (new CuJo, not shell of his former self CuJo), Shannahan, Janney, Mrs. Janney, MacInnis, and Hull. My strongest two memories of being a little kid and loving hockey are playing floor hockey with the dog - he was probably not a willing participant - by taping a 12 inch and a 6 inch ruler together as a stick and using one of his tennis balls as a puck; and watching the 1993 series sweep of the Blackhawks in the 1st round of the playoffs. I still remember, as clear as day, the front page headline of the Post-Dispatch: "SWEEP" - complete with a picture of a crying (and probably screaming... damn PMS) Eddie Belfour. I actually think that I have a copy of that still somewhere, though I'm not sure where it is.
My grandmother of all people got me started collecting hockey cards, as well as a subscription to Beckett's hockey price guide, which is a tradition I still continue with my monthly on-line subscription. This collecting of cards made me aware at a really young age of who the best players were, who the up and coming guys were, all their stats, and of course contributed to my unhealthy goaltender crush. I moved down to Georgia in 1993 which completely killed my hockey trading card addiction, as well as prohibited me from finding friends to whack street hockey balls against the side of the house. I only had my Super Nintendo, NHL '94, a Blues sweatshirt, and some autographs from Hull, Shanny, and CuJo to get me through those dark, horrible, hockeyless days until 1999 when the Thrashers showed up and I got to watch their first game, a 4-1 loss to the Devils, in person. I adore the Thrashers (as much as they'll let me) but because of where I'm from and the warmth that I associate with these early hockey memories of a childhood past, well, the Blues are my boys and are still my hometown team.