Seriously obsessed. It was the first thing I was ever truly passionate about; The Detroit Red Wings and Chris Osgood. Hockey made me happy and it was always something I could look forward to. I loved the flow of the game and just watching the players skate. I adored going downtown to Joe Louis with my dad and getting teased by some of the guys sitting around us for being an Osgood fan. I loved the smell of the ice and the excitement I felt when they would announce the starting line up. I knew every player, every statistic and anxiously watched every game. I would wear some type of hockey or Red Wing shirt every day, as well as my #30 charm (with other miscellaneous hockey charms), and best of all, my goalie pin. PIN as in button. Every. Single. Day. I even wore it in my senior pictures. My entire room was filled with Chris Osgood and Red Wing pictures. I had scrap books with my favorite newspaper clippings (which are still in my attic to this day). It would devastate me if we lost a game, especially if Ozzie was in goal. I took it to heart, as if I was the one playing the game (ask me about the 1995 playoffs, when we were swept by the New Jersey Devils some time. I was a mess).
But, win or lose, I was always Chris Osgood's #1 fan. On March 6, 1996 he became one of nine goaltenders in the NHL to score a goal. This game wasn't televised (boy, was I mad about that) and I was listening to it on the radio with my parents. I was so excited when they announced that he had scored, that I fell off the bar stool I was sitting on. I was able to meet him a couple times, once while at a fan fest (see photo), It was a real quick, "hello, thank you, goodbye" but it made my year. And another time, 2 years ago in downtown Plymouth. My friends and I saw him at a bar and they were begging me to go talk to him. I couldn't do it. I was perfectly fine with staring at him from afar (creepy, I know) and I didn't want to bother him. Carrie made me talk to him and I couldn't be more grateful to her, haha. He was super nice and agreed to take a picture with me. He asked me how I was and probably would have talked to me for a lot longer if I hadn't been such a nervous freak and ran off so quick. It was a fantastic experience and I was on cloud 9.
I was really, really sad when he was put on waivers in 2001 and the New York Islanders picked him up. Even more sad because Dominic Hasek was replacing him and I couldn't stand him. I admit, my interest in hockey lessened quite a bit after that. I would still keep tabs on him though and when my dad would take me to a Wings Vs. Islanders game (or later on, St. Louis Blues) I would watch him in goal for the other team and secretly hope for a tie. In August, 2005 we got him back. I was ECSTATIC. It was like he never left and I had so much fun watching him play again.
Now, he's retiring (he'll be a goalie consultant with the Wings) and I am a sad girl. He was responsible for bringing a game into my life that I barely paid attention to before. It brought me joy and tears and most of all, it got me through high school. Every time there was a bad day (come on, it was high school, there were LOTS of bad days), I could always turn a Red Wing game on and see Ozzie in net, making a save and it would instantly bring a smile to my face. He brought me bonding time with my dad that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world. I love, love, loved going to games with him, watching them on tv with my family and just talking about the different players and teams.
Was he the best goalie in the world? Maybe not to some people, but to me he always will be. I will miss seeing him in his "old school" red helmet on the ice. I'll miss hearing the audio dudes at Joe Louis play The Wizard Of Oz clip after he makes an amazing save and I will miss seeing him on the bench, chewing gum and taking notes in the games where he was playing back up. Most of all, I will miss seeing him wear that #30, Red Wing jersey.
For now, I have my pictures, jerseys (4 of them!) and memories to make me smile whenever I miss seeing him play.
- 17 NHL Seasons
- 3 Stanley Cup wins (2 of which he was starting goaltender)
- 401 Wins (10th in NHL regular season history)
- 1 goal
- 2 time winner of the William Jennings Trophy
- 2 time All Star Player