Here’s a guide to the cast of characters on this site, and who they root for:
Me (Neil) – I went to my first Washington Capitals game when I was four and was instantly hooked. If you’re counting, that’s three-and-a-half decades-plus of disappointment. They are still far and away my favorite team, but I am slowly becoming a secondary New Jersey Devils fan. We live in New Jersey, we have season tickets, and everyone else in the family loves the Devils. I even bought a jersey this spring (Kovalchuk). Just don’t ever ask me to root for the Devils against Washington. In retrospect, it’s probably a good thing the Rangers knocked out the Caps and prevented us from being a split family in the stands at Prudential Center for what would have been a Caps-Devils Eastern Conference Final.
My most hated teams: Pittsburgh (check their history against the Caps), Philly, Rangers.
Veronica – She grew up worshiping Kentucky basketball and didn’t watch much hockey outside of the Miracle On Ice. But I am proud to say I have turned my wife into a hockey-loving fanatic. She watches games even when I’m not home. She roots for the Devils first and foremost, but also likes the Caps and the San Jose Sharks to support Ryan.
Ryan – At first, Ryan was a Caps fan like me, but at some point switched to the San Jose Sharks. We don’t know exactly why. I tried to talk him out of it for two reasons: 1) The Sharks play most of their games long after he has gone to bed. 2) The Sharks are basically the California version of the Capitals. Lots of regular-season success, very little to show for it in the playoffs. Undeterred, Ryan now has several Sharks jerseys, even more t-shirts, and a room that is painted official San Jose teal. His favorite player is big Joe Thornton, #19.
But more than anyone in our family, Ryan loves all the teams in the NHL. Except Anaheim — just ask him — and the Rangers (the latter despite the fact that he was a Ranger for a day at this year’s NHL Winter Classic). At Devils games, he wears a Devils jersey (Parise) and will root for them against anyone except San Jose. The Caps are his third choice.
Riley – As Riley will proudly recount, she was a hockey fan before her brother. I took her to her first Devils game when she was perhaps three or four and she instantly became a Devils fan. She has no second choice — it’s Devils or no one for her. When asked why, the answer is simple. “Duh, WE LIVE IN NEW JERSEY!” She once missed a day of school with a broken heart after the Devils blew a lead in Game 7 of a playoff series by giving up two goals in the final minute to Carolina:
She refused to speak of the Hurricanes for several years after that incident (until she discovered Jeff Skinner was cute and really not that much older than she is). From day one, her favorite Devil has been goalie Martin Brodeur, and she wears his #30 jersey on game days. She hates the Rangers most of all.
So there you have it. Four of us, three primary teams, one hated opponent in common. Sorry, Rangers fans.