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Taking a new tenant to hockey school

Tuesday, 09.01.2009 / 9:52 AM / Columns

By Paul Kukla - Correspondent

What in the name of Gordie Howe have I done?
Let me start from the beginning. I live in the Detroit area and times are very tough here. The economy is very bad and thousands of people have lost their jobs, cars, homes and their savings.
I am doing OK, keeping my head above water, and have tried to figure out a way I could help people out in a small way.
I have two bedrooms in my house that are empty, and since I basically have my home office set up on another level of the house and don't use most of the rooms, I decided to take out an ad letting people know I had two bedrooms available, plus house privileges.
I received numerous inquiries and finally decided to meet with a potential renter. Let's call her Nikki, a grad student at a local university who is new to the Detroit area. I told her I was involved in the hockey world and the blank look from her told me I was talking with a non-hockey person.
Nikki is from California but had no idea the names of the NHL teams from her home state. Other than that one negative, she was very nice and I came to the conclusion she could move in.
She did that this past weekend and now is settled in. She returned from school yesterday and asked me how my day went. She then realized, before I even opened my mouth, that she would not have a clue what I was about to tell her. It would have been all hockey talk and would have gone right over her head.
Then it hit me -- I am going to turn Nikki into a hockey fan. That is my goal for the season -- to get her to become a fan of any NHL team she so desires. Her fiancé is studying at MIT, so maybe she will get hooked on the Bruins. She is from Fulton, in the northern part of California, so maybe she's a Sharks fan in the making.
She has an undergraduate degree from a school near Chicago, how about the Blackhawks? Whatever team I can talk her into being a fan of, I know I have work to do.  Today, I plan to throw a few hockey names at her --Wayne Gretzky, Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin. I don't think I will get a positive reaction from her, but that won't stop me from getting her excited about our game.
I have bookmarked a few Web sites that I will show her -- basically, I am starting at Hockey 101. Hopefully she will show some interest, grasp it and want to learn more about the game. 
Now I need your help with suggestions on how to get her excited about NHL hockey. Have you tried to teach someone the game? What tools did you use? Was it successful or did the person just brush it off and move on?
You can let me know what you did, or even give me a few helpful hints to get someone interested in hockey. Maybe you are new to the game and can tell me what got you involved with our game. Please respond here, and I thank you in advance.
One more thing -- I have another person stopping by Friday to look at the second bedroom that is still available. She is from the Flint, Mich., area and hopefully she knows hockey, and to make it even better she is a fan of the team that wears the winged wheel. I will keep you posted.

Quote of the Day

We're buyers. We're committed to winning. That's what [owner Vinnie Viola] has said all along and what we've said all along. We want to win. We want to win a championship. We're putting the pieces together, step by step, and we're hopeful that Jaromir can lead these young guys to the promised land. It's a win-win for us.

— Panthers GM Dale Tallon on Jaromir Jagr, who he traded for from the Devils on Thursday
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