Hey AC community,
I know it's been a while since I've made an appearance on the site, and there have been a few reasons for that. Mostly, I just don't want to think about the Ducks at the moment. I got the news about 3 months ago that my family would be moving to Tucson, AZ in August, and that I would be going with them. I have the option to stay in SoCal and find a place to live, but I know that I don't have the finances necessary for rent and other expenses. I funneled as much as I could afford into making sure that I got to as many Ducks games as I could this year, and ended up seeing 14 of the 24 home games this year.
It was the first time in my life that I could watch a highlight reel of an entire season and remember every single moment I saw on there. About 60% of the highlights I had seen in person, and I really thought this year was going to be my year. Last year had been so terrible with the Ducks missing the playoffs and the Kings going on to win their first Stanley Cup, so I thought this year had to be different. Being the 2nd best team in the Western Conference behind a record-breaking Chicago team was not disappointing to me, and I really liked our chances to at the very least make the Finals and give the Eastern Conference a run for their money.
I had a great time at the Honda Center all year, and it was such a fun environment to be in on an almost weekly basis. I am still fairly new to being a hockey fan, so I had never really experienced a playoff environment in person. You can imagine how I felt holding tickets to Game 1 against Detroit, knowing that I could be witnessing one of the best series matchups the NHL has to offer. The Ducks won that game and I thought we were off to a good start. I had tickets to Game 2 as well, but like I said, finances were a bit of an issue for me and I had to sell off those tickets.
As I watched the series swing back and forth from home, I began to hope that I had not seen my final home game in Southern California for quite some time. My dad came home with great news the day before Game 7 was to be played; he had gotten tickets 2 rows behind the Detroit bench for Game 7, and we were all going. I can't describe to you in words how excited I was sitting in my seat a couple minutes before puck drop. I had to been to 15 home games all year long, and I had only seen the Ducks lose twice in that span. Once to Vancouver on opening night; the other, Detroit in mid-march. I tried not to remember that game as I watched Game 7, but it became quickly apparent to me that the Red Wings were simply the better team in that game.
I had turned to my brother before the game started and said, "I am so not okay with the possibility that the season could be over tonight." Sure enough, Detroit got the best of the Ducks once again and I sat in my seat expressionless, watching the Red Wings bench celebrate 10 feet in front of me. When the buzzer sounded, I had no words. I just stared at the ground with my rally towel on my head listening to the Red Wings fan and his girlfriend sitting next to me cheering and high-fiving. I left Honda Center after seeing the tribute to the fans, but I still couldn't bring myself to say anything.
It wouldn't be as bad if I knew that there was always next season and that I would be back in Honda Center before I knew it, but that's not the case. By the time the puck drops on the 2013-2014 season, I will be living in Tucson, a good 7-8 hours away from Anaheim. I'll do my best to come back once or twice a year for a home game, but it won't be the same as being 10 minutes up the street and being able to go on any given day. My dad has already promised that we will take at least one trip a year up to Phoenix to watch the Ducks play at Jobing, but once again, that won't be the same.
I guess the point I am trying to make in this is a simple thank you. Thanks to everyone in the AC community for all the good talks during the games, and thanks to all the Ducks fans in Southern California for making my experiences here worth it. It's still hard to believe I'll be missing my first home opener in about 5 years, but I'll be watching from my Tucson home and I'll still be around on here to talk to everyone else who isn't at the game. Thanks everybody, and go Ducks!