The battle for the soul of a future hockey fan has already begun.
Alex and Holly, a young couple who live in a Twin Cities suburb, discovered not long ago that they were with child. Hockey child.
When they tried thinking of the best, most appropriate way to announce their imminent parenthood — the baby will be their first — they soon settled on an honest message for family and friends. They blamed the baby's birthday on the (premature) ends to their respective hockey teams' seasons.
You see, Alex is a dedicated fan of the Minnesota Wild, and comes from a family that's also embraced the NHL franchise representing the state of hockey. Holly, meanwhile, grew up near Chicago, and has been a lifelong supporter of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Alex's Wild got bounced out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Dallas Stars on April 24. Holly's beloved Blackhawks lost out to the St. Louis Blues on April 25.
Their baby is due January 26 — exactly nine months and one day since neither had a team in the running for the Stanley Cup. Hmmmmm.
This coincidental timing wasn't lost on the couple, who decided to have a little fun breaking the news.
Everyone on both sides of the marriage loves the way they informed the world of the due date.
"In my family, they all said they were going to be sending us little Wild jerseys," Alex reports. "Then her dad says he's going to come over with red and black paint, like the Blackhawks wear, for the nursery. There's been a lot of playful back-and-forth."
On ice, the Wild/Blackhawks rivalry is very serious, and often brutal for one side or the other: From 2013 through 2015, Chicago eliminated Minnesota from the playoffs in three straight years. (Twice durnig that time, the Blackhawks went on to win the Stanley Cup.) Last year, Alex boasts proudly, quickly, Minnesota swept its regional rival.
Who knows what might've happened had Minnesota and Chicago met in yet another series this year. One thing's for sure: One of the two teams would've advanced, continuing on in the playoffs, and this baby would have a different due date.
Alex and Holly have agreed to something of a truce when it comes to the baby's fandom. Neither is allowed to "coerce" the little one — who, Alex assures, will be on skates as soon as possible — into liking one team more than the other.
Coerce? Of course not. Influence? Well, it's worth a shot.
"The child has to choose," Alex says, "but we are in the state of hockey. I think I have that going for me. We're only about an hour away from the Xcel Center in St. Paul, and I will be taking him or her to some games."
We offer this blessing: May the child view the in-house "rivalry" with the same good humor that mom and dad did at his or her arrival.
Previously, in This is a good thing: