By Ruchika Sharma
Hi everybody! My name is Ruchika Sharma, and I'm probably the biggest hockey nut around. I was born in Montreal, Canada; so to answer your question, yes, I am a stereotypical Canadian [though only when it comes to hockey]. I'm originally a Montreal Canadiens fan [gotta represent the hometown boys]and I moved to Florida nine years ago. It took some time for me to warm up to the Florida Panthers, six years, to be exact.
After moving here, they were just so horrible that they managed to tug at my heartstrings, and I had to root for them. Seeing them make the playoffs this year made me feel like a proud mother. Sure, my Canadiens come first, but I'll defend the Panthers to no end.
I understand that hockey isn't the biggest thing in South Florida; the Heat, the Dolphins and even the Marlins tend to garner more attention than the Panthers. But this season's playoffs proved that South Florida can, in fact, be a hockey town. This year's playoffs were often referred to as 'silly', just because non-traditional hockey markets made it, like Nashville, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Florida.
But I see a lot of potential in the Florida Panthers. Heck, the fans are rejuvenated and believe it too. Keep this in mind: the Panthers were the only team to push the New Jersey Devils to seven games, who faced off against the Los Angeles Kings, eventually losing in six games.
Alas, hockey season is over. The Los Angeles Kings have taken home the Stanley Cup, and will enjoy it until October. Us Panthers' fans have a long time to wait until hockey returns to South Florida. Unless, of course, you'll anxiously be watching the Draft next Saturday, just like me...
GO CATS GO!