Special to Ducks Digest
Editor’s Note: As part of the Ducks’ 20th anniversary celebration, we are highlighting the unique stories of some of our Season Ticket Holders who have been with us from the beginning.
They are known to many Ducks fans as simply “Mickey and Minnie,” the unmistakable couple with the unique jerseys and a love for their team that could only be matched by their hearts of gold.
You’ll find Stan and Joyce Shapiro in Section 215 at Honda Center, where they’ve been supporting and following the Ducks since the beginning. As Chicago natives, their love for hockey can be traced back to their childhood days, when Stan watched the likes of Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita play for the Chicago Blackhawks inside old Chicago Stadium.
In 1976, the Shapiros relocated to Huntington Beach, and a new city meant finding a new team to support. They followed the Los Angeles Kings briefly, but when Stan heard an NHL team was coming to Anaheim, he was certain he had found his new hockey allegiance.
“I was one of the first to contact the team and put down a deposit for season tickets,” Stan recalls. “I wrote a $500 check and put ‘Ducks’ in the memo line. At the time, Joyce had no idea what I was up to. ‘You spent $500 on some ducks?’ she says. That’s when I figured I’d better bring her to the games with me.”
And they’ve been cheering on the Ducks together ever since.
|“I’ve been offered a ton of money for these seats. I’d never consider it. Some things are just not for sale.” |
The couple has their game day routine, which includes donning those jerseys with “Mickey” and “Minnie” and the number 93 on the backs, something the two have been wearing since the team’s first season. The jersey style may have changed over the years, but the personalized names and numbers have remained the same, giving a nod to the club’s inaugural year and original owners, the Walt Disney Company.
And when it comes to these two, there is no mistaking who is in charge. Joyce wears the ‘C”, while Stan wears the “A”.
“I’m the boss,” Joyce says with a smile.
In addition to the jerseys, you can spot Stan in his fuzzy orange hat, a dollar store pick-up during one Halloween season.
“I’ve been told I can’t stop wearing it,” says Stan of his brightly colored headwear. “People tell me all the time that it’s easier to find their seats when they can see the hat.”
Just like clockwork, they arrive early at Honda Center before the doors open, stop by the same concession stand to pick up their pre-game meal, and head to their seats behind the west end goal. They are the same seats they’ve sat in for the better part of two decades, the place they feel is like their “second home.” It’s a place they don’t plan on leaving any time soon.
“We’ve met so many wonderful people who sit around us,” says Joyce of their seat neighbors. “They’re like our second family.”
“I’ve been offered a ton of money for these seats,” adds Stan. “I’d never consider it. Some things are just not for sale.”
Considered to be somewhat like Honda Center “royalty,” Stan and Joyce receive greetings from several familiar faces during games, from arena workers to the Power Players to Wild Wing. Even the Finnish Flash himself recognizes the dedicated couple.
“The Power Players will wave at us when they’re on the ice,” says Stan. “We consider it good luck. And Teemu always acknowledges us at the start of the second period. He’s our favorite.”
Just like hockey players, Stan and Joyce have a few superstitions they keep as their small way of helping the Ducks stay in the win column.
“Stan will drink the same soda each game, until they lose,” says Joyce, “then he changes to a different soda. And the same with me. I’ve got accessories I’ll wear to the games. But if they lose, I’ll switch them to something different next game.”
Their Ducks dedication doesn’t stop at the Honda Center doors, as the couple religiously watches their beloved team play every road game from their home. And they do so without interruptions.
“Everyone knows not to bother us when the game is on,” says Joyce. “No phone calls or visitors allowed unless it’s an emergency.”
Unique jerseys, fuzzy hats and superstitions aside, Stan and Joyce love the sport of hockey. The speed and fast-paced action of the game have made them life-long fans. Over the 20 years, there haven’t been many games the two have missed. Stan even postponed heart surgery once so he could be present for a Ducks playoff run.
But last fall, Joyce was sidelined as she dealt with surgery needed for tongue cancer. She missed several games at the beginning of this season, but made it her primary goal to get back to cheering on the Ducks as soon as possible.
“It was so hard to miss all of those games,” recalls Joyce. I was determined to make it back by November 6th. And I did, and I was greeted with a ‘Welcome Back, Minnie!’ message on the Honda Center screens. That was so special. I’ll never forget that day.”
As the couple approaches their 50th wedding anniversary this September, Joyce has only one gift in mind. While the traditional gift for celebrating 50 years is typically gold, she would rather receive something in silver.
“I want the Ducks to win the Cup again,” says Joyce without hesitation. “I think that would make the most perfect anniversary gift.”