It began on Social Media Night 2017, deep in the underground tunnels of Gila River Arena.
Chelsea Faulds, a local Arizona singer scheduled to perform the national anthem before the Coyotes faced the Boston Bruins on Oct. 14, waited in the ref tunnel for her cue. Someone standing across the hall caught her eye.
Kyle Kupiec noticed her, too, in spite of his rampant nervousness. A member of the Luke Air Force Base's hockey team, Kyle was that night's recipient of the Coyotes' Seats for Soldiers ticket donation. Before enjoying the game, he would accompany Chelsea on the ice for her rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner."
"He looked super nervous," Chelsea said with a laugh. "So I went over and introduced myself and was like, 'Hey, I'm the anthem singer,' and, you know, 'How are you feeling?' I said, 'I'll tell you what to do. Don't worry. I've done it before.'"
The anthem was a hit, and the Yotes and Bruins prepared to take the ice. As fate would have it, Chelsea found that her usual seating assignment - behind Arizona's goal - had somehow been given to another fan. And as fate would have it, her new seats landed her directly across the aisle from Kyle and his buddies.
Never had she been so pleased to encounter a ticket mix-up - until about midway through the third period, when her high hopes began to dwindle.
"Kyle didn't talk to me the whole game!" Chelsea said. "My parents even moved out of the aisle so there was a seat open next to me, just in case. He ended up leaving early and didn't even say goodbye to me, so I was like, 'Guess he's not interested.'"
Or was he?
"My friends were making fun of me as we were leaving the game," Kyle said. "They could tell she was interested in me, but I was completely oblivious. On the way home, I ended up finding her on Instagram, and I sent her a message. Her friend had taken a picture of us after we got off the ice, and that was my in. I said, 'Hey, can I get that picture?'"
Still, it took months of Instagram messaging - and a bit of fortitude on Chelsea's part - for this Coyotes-born love affair to get off the ground.
"Maybe six weeks went by, and I would always see him look at my Instagram stories," Chelsea said. "I thought, 'I'm just going to say hi.' It's been a while. I'll say, 'Hey, how are you doing, hope all is well.' So I did, and then we kind of messaged back and forth, and again, it didn't go anywhere.
"Then, the next day, he messaged me and said, 'I should have asked you this a long time ago, but would you want to go out sometime?' I was like 'Yes! Finally!'"
Their first date was spent watching a Coyotes road game - of course. Their second date was spent back at Gila River Arena for a home game. Their third date? Ice skating. Nine months later, they're still going strong and are gearing up for another season full of hockey-centric dates.
You could say Kyle and Chelsea are big fans of the Coyotes. But it's not just because of the players wearing red on the ice.
"We love hockey," Chelsea said. "We love the Yotes, and without them, we wouldn't be together - it's kind of crazy.
"So now the they mean a lot more to us."
Congratulations, Chelsea and Kyle! Your next date night is on us. Enjoy this gift card courtesy of The Keg! Visit any of our Valley locations in Desert Ridge, Tempe or Chandler and enjoy.