Nico Hischier describes his hockey journey that started in Switzerland and landed him with the Devils in the latest Players' Tribune contribution.
I was born in 1999. I was eight years old when the iPhone came out. People think that is really funny. I don't know why.
I'll tell you another story that people think is crazy. When I was 11 years old, my Swiss hockey team came over for the big pee-wee hockey tournament in Quebec City. It was my first time in North America, and I had never seen an NHL game before. So our whole team drove to Ottawa to watch the Senators play the Oilers. We were sitting up so high that we could barely see the puck. We were like two seats from the roof. So we just kept trying to look for number 4 on Edmonton.
We were all like, Wow, that guy is a big deal.
It was Taylor Hall. He had just been the No. 1 pick in the draft. From where we were sitting, he looked really small. He was basically just like a blue dot. But we all thought it was so cool. It was a big deal for us, because in Switzerland hockey is not the dominant sport, you know? The NHL is growing, but you can't really watch games on TV. When we were kids, we would just watch highlights on YouTube on our phones. Then when the NHL came out with their their app, that was a big deal. Because then I could watch so many Pavel Datsyuk videos. Datsyuk was my favorite. I loved the way he played the game.