It has been said that hockey players are some of the nicest people in the world of sports. Unless you actually have contact with them, you may not know it, and just have to take my word for it. There seems to be a different passion for hockey fans in how they relate to players in this sport compared to the other leagues, such as NFL, MLB, and the NBA. One of the loyal readers of our site who is known to us as @joezayfan had one of those special moments last Thursday night when the Florida Panthers visited the St. Louis Blues. Carol is a huge fan of Jose Theodore and also has a website that is dedicated to Jose as well, and you can check that our right here. Here’s her story:
I don’t think many people would argue that professional hockey players are some of the most down-to-earth and humble of the professional athletes out there. And many are very appreciative of their fans and show them that in various ways. I am a fan of José Theodore, and I am convinced that there is no player in the NHL that is more appreciative of or kind to his fans. I’d like to share a story of why I think that, so that others can see what a kind man he is.
Just to give a little background, I am relatively new to being a hockey fan, because I was raised in an area where hockey is not played or watched. I did not pay attention to hockey until the 2010 Olympics. I started watching Olympic games and was immediately drawn to the game, and the position of goalie especially. I decided I would follow the NHL once the Olympics were over, but I didn’t have a favorite team being new to the sport. I currently live in central Illinois, so I could’ve chosen the Blackhawks or Blues due to regional proximity, but I thought I’d wait and see how I felt after watching some games.
Near the end of the 2009-10 season, I read about José and how he was nominated for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy due to the way he dealt with the death of their son, Chace, in the summer of 2009, and the season that he had after that tragedy. I was so impressed with his story, that I researched his career and it was an easy decision for me to pick him as my favorite player. The fact that he played goalie, my favorite position, the fact that he showed such great resilience in his life and career, and all the stories I read of how kind he is to his fans made me a fan immediately. I have always picked my favorite athletes on what type of people they are, on and off the field/ice. That has always been more important to me than stats or numbers. It was just icing on the cake that he was a great player on top of being a class act.
I was fortunate enough to meet José last season in Minnesota. The team held an online auction, and fans were able to bid on the opportunity to Meet and Greet their favorite Wild player and watch one of their practices (Wild practices are not open to the public.) Plus you would get a worn and signed practice jersey from your player. So I bid on the opportunity to meet José and won! I was so excited. My husband was a good sport and made the 8 hour trip with me to St. Paul to meet José. It was a wonderful day, and José was so incredibly down-to-earth and nice to us. My husband is not a sports fan, but José won him over with how he treated us.
I followed José to Florida this season and was so excited that he was getting another chance to show he’s still got what it takes. I’ve come to like a lot of the Panthers, and I’m an excited Panthers fan with the way the season is starting off. As soon as the NHL schedule came out this season, I made arrangements to make the trip to St. Louis when the Panthers visited the Blues. I bought tickets online from a season ticket holder, 2 rows up from the glass. My brother, who is a sports fan, went with me to the game. Unfortunately the outcome of the game was not what I would’ve liked, but I have to admit I wasn’t disappointed in the evening because of what José did for me.
About five minutes into warmups, I was standing at the glass, wearing my Theo jersey, and a security guard came up behind me and said, “Will you come with me?” I was a little nervous that I was in trouble for some reason, but I followed him. He gestured toward the Panthers bench area and said to go over there. I walked that way, and there was another security guard there holding a goalie stick out to me. He said “He wanted you to have this.” I was in shock! José had signed one of his sticks and made arrangements with them to have it given to me! I don’t even know what I said to the security guard, I was so surprised and tongue-tied. The other security guard took me to Guest Services where I could leave the stick during the game and pick it up after the game. I went back to our seats and told my brother and he was shocked too. He said how cool that was, and I said “See, I told you José is the nicest guy in the NHL!”
Maybe he remembered when we met last season that we talked about me watching one of the Blues/Wild games in St. Louis. Therefore maybe he thought there was a good chance I’d be there this season when the Panthers visited, so he thought he’d have a stick ready for me in case. It wouldn’t be hard for security guards to pick me out being the only woman with a red Theo jersey there at the glass. However it happened, I’m extremely touched that he did that for me, and I’m so appreciative.
Frank asked me if I’d share my story so everyone could see just how nice of a guy José is. Thanks for giving me the opportunity, Frank!
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