June 21, 2011 is a date I'd rather soon forget, but unfortunately, will never be able to.
That was the day my beloved Atlanta Thrashers - my favorite team on the planet since fourth grade - were officially sold to True North Sports and jetted off to Winnipeg.
One city was given a second chance at a hockey team, and I was forced into choosing a new team.
But where to start? All I had known was the Thrashers as a hockey fan - their first season was my Kindergarten year in 1998-99 and they were officially sold a little over a month after I graduated from high school. Do I follow the team to Winnipeg, despite them sharing no characteristics of their former selves?
Nah. This is an exciting time. How many people have an actual good excuse to reinvent their fandom? The NHL world was my oyster.
But, I had a huge task ahead of me - there were 29 teams to choose from. Who do I go with?
I considered the Canadiens - I love the city of Montreal. But, living in Atlanta, it'd be near impossible to ever get to a game. So pass.
I attended college in Bowling Green, Kentucky, about an hour north of Nashville. So maybe the Predators then? Eh...that seemed too simple. Too easy. The obvious solution. No thanks.
One of my favorite bands reps the San Jose Sharks often. I could get down with some teal.
Speaking of teal, the Mighty Ducks films are childhood classics. I could totally get down with the quack.
Nope, nope, I know. It'll be the Buffalo Sabres. I already had a hat and a shirt, I enjoyed a brief stint there once.
Maybe I'll stick in the then Southeast Division. Carolina? Florida? Tampa?
I kid you not - each and every one of these teams I gave consideration for as to who will be my new NHL team. But, after it was all said and done, I narrowed my options down to two squads:
- The Columbus Blue Jackets
- The Edmonton Oilers