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Introduction: The Dark-Winged Ducks Fan

A Ducks fan living in Hockeytown

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Detroit Red Wings Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Hello Anaheim Calling readers,

With the season right around the corner, I want to take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Joe Kowal, I am 29 years young, and I am a Ducks fan! I was born and raised in Plymouth, Michigan where I grew up a fan of the Detroit Red Wings. I followed the Wings closely in the late 1990s and went crazy when they won the cup back to back in 1997 & 1998. However, during the 2000’s, I became less and less passionate about hockey. I quit playing ice hockey (because it was expensive and I was terrible), I was somewhat excited when the Wings won the cup in 2008, and became really frustrated when they lost to Pittsburg in 2009. It was after that loss that I realized my passion for hockey was dead.

Much to my surprise, hockey crept back into my life several months later. I had just graduated college and moved my wife & I from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan across the U.S. to start my Construction Management career with a company based in…Anaheim. My new boss was showing me around my new environment and took me out to a hockey game (my very first Ducks game). As always, witnessing a live game was an awesome experience. My brain was quickly processing multiple thoughts about this unfamiliar Ducks team like: “Wow what a play! Who was that player just that made that perfect saucer pass?”, and “The program says…Ryan…Gets-laugh is one of the Assistant Captains? Ok, where is…. there he is! Wow! Look at the strides that guy is taking!” and of course, the nostalgic excitement when I realized… “TEEMU!!!!”. Unfortunately, the Ducks had a rocky start to that particular season and Toronto ended up whooping them in that one, but watching that game sparked something inside of me and my passion for hockey was reborn.

At the time, I viewed the Ducks as an underdog team (which are my favorite types of teams to root for). I soon invited my Fiancé Jen to join me for a Ducks game and the rest was history. She asked a million questions as she became more and more engaged, and I was more than happy to explain the game to her. To this day, I secretly think she became a bigger Ducks fan than I did (but don’t you dare tell her I said that!). My die-hard Wings friends, on the other hand, were less than thrilled about my decision. Not only did I change teams, but I chose the Ducks as my new team?!? One of the Wings’ biggest rivals?!? Occasionally, I like to throw some friendly smack talk their way to get them all worked up. Believe m e, worked up they do get.

Some other things about me: I started playing ice hockey again and although I am still not very good, I have a lot of fun. I also love playing video games (especially the NHL games). Jen & I moved back to Plymouth, Michigan in 2011 and got married on Friday the 13th of September in 2013 (we like to live dangerously). Our dedication to the Ducks did not change when we moved 2,252 miles away: we often stay up late to watch the live games and made it a very real goal to visit every NHL arena before we die to support the Ducks during away games (you might see us sometime, we are always rocking our Ducks’ jerseys and gladly take the heat for being a fan of the away team). So far, we have visited the Kings, Blue Jackets, Predators, Bruins, Flyers, and of course…the Red Wings. We are still trying to decide where to go next - suggestions anybody?

Lastly, I am more than thrilled to become a part of the Anaheim Calling family! Thank you for reading my article and I look forward to writing many more about a thrilling 2016-2017 Ducks season!