As I've mentioned in this space before, one of the responsibilities of my job is to monitor the Contact Us emails that come through the Ducks website. And as I've also mentioned before, there is a wide variety of emails we receive from fans and ... not ... fans. (You can imagine how the emails looked in the days following the Game 7 loss to the Kings.)
Every once in awhile, I'll see emails that bring a smile to my face, like this one we received today from a Will Grant:
To the Ducks,
On Sunday, April 13 2014, I attended the Ducks vs. Avalanche game, and it was quite a magical experience! Not only did the Ducks pull out a tough 3-2 victory in OT, but the fans were truly treated above and beyond. The generosity and good spirits of the Ducks organization were contagious throughout the evening. I just had to write to say how thankful I am for that experience.
I am new to hockey fandom. Originally from Arkansas, there wasn’t a whole lot of hockey coverage growing up. It wasn’t until I decided to attend a Ducks game on February 28 that I realized I had found a new love. I was instantly hooked. The positive atmosphere and beauty of the Honda Center, the warmth of the crowd behind me while feeling the cold of the rink below, the speed and intensity of the game. I could see droves of happy fans, whether it be a single person with a Teemu jersey, or complete families decked out in classic Ducks gear. That night I bought a hockey jersey and knew I was a Ducks fan.
I bought a number of tickets in advance, so I already had tickets to that April 13th game. However, my roommate recently returned from Afghanistan and he wanted to splurge. We ended up with glass seats that night, and it was completely amazing. Since it was Fan Appreciation Night, ticket numbers were being called out all night for various prizes.
I had been chatting with the gentleman next to me and his granddaughter, and he mentioned one of the giveaways being displayed. I looked up and it was the seats that I had previously purchased! I was totally amazed, but was doubtful I would be able to receive the prize since I had left the tickets at home. The gentleman next to me convinced me to at least give it a shot.
I remembered that I had taken a picture of the tickets earlier, as I was trying to give them away to friends. Nobody had taken them, mainly because I live in San Diego county, so not too many of my friends want to make that journey. I walked up to the prize table and explained the situation. The staff member was very patient with my situation, and decided the best course of action would be to reprint my ticket. She was able to reprint the ticket, and in no time I was given 10 $50 American Express gift cards! I have never won anything in my life, so $500 was already something else for me.
I went back to my seat and talked to that gentleman again, and decided to give his granddaughter one of the gift cards. If it wasn’t for them I would have never noticed that my ticket was announced. Also, he had mentioned how charitable his granddaughter was, and had been telling me all night about his immense love for the Ducks.
The Ducks played an amazing game, and won in a dramatic finish. Afterwards, I saw the most amazing thing of all. Teemu Selanne’s last home game, and everyone was so emotional. Teemu actually came up and gave his stick to that gentleman’s granddaughter! I was witnessing all of this from only a few feet away, and saw how much it meant to them. The fans throughout the Honda Center showed their love for Selanne, and he returned the favor.
The Ducks organization, from top to bottom, is one of the most friendly and inspiring groups I have ever encountered. The ability to create moments like the previous mentioned is an opportunity this organization capitalizes on time and time again. I realize my experience is only a drop in the bucket compared to what goes on throughout the year in the Honda Center. I have decided that I want to be in a career that is so rewarding. To be able to give so much in such a professional way while still enjoying being part of such an incredible team. That is my new goal.
I know this has been a rather lengthy thank you, but I just had to attempt to convey the magnitude of my thanks to everyone working with the Ducks. I have not had a negative experience thus far, and will always be a Ducks fan after this past season.