Kelsey Styre is a self-described serious fan of New Jersey Devils forward Taylor Hall. So when Styre and her husband Chris Beavington had four days off this week, they traveled from their home in Edmonton to New Jersey to see Hall play in his first home game for his new team.
Styre became an online sensation thanks to her sign that said "We flew 2,420 miles from Edmonton to see Taylor Hall play as a Devil." She even caught Hall's attention, earning a shoutout from him on Twitter after New Jersey's 2-1 win against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday.
"I was surprised the photo actually got to him," Styre said. "I didn't know he had seen or responded to the tweet until hours later. My phone was on airplane mode for most of the day, so I didn't realize anyone had responded."
"It was quite a shock to see the amount of tweets and retweets it's still getting."
Hall, 24, was traded to the Devils from the Edmonton Oilers for defenseman Adam Larsson on June 29. Hall, the top pick of the 2010 NHL Draft, scored 132 goals and 328 points in 381 games with the Oilers, and Styre admired his play and charity work in the community.
"I was disappointed when Edmonton traded him away," Styre said. "For the past six years in Edmonton, his presence and talent on the ice has been an absolute joy to experience. I really appreciate how he's become an undeniable leader on the ice."
Styre and Beavington planned to travel to the United States during the fall, and when they realized they had an extended period of time off work, they booked a last-minute trip to New York. Before they left, Styre made an alteration to her Hall jersey, drawing the Devils logo on a piece of paper and taping it over the Oilers logo.
"The whole point of taking a sign or wearing a jersey was just to try to communicate to him that his time and effort was appreciated and celebrated in Edmonton," Styre said.
Styre was apprehensive to don an Oilers jersey at a game in New Jersey, but when Devils fans saw her sign and jersey, they welcomed her and posed for pictures with her. The Devils took notice and offered her a Devils jersey with Hall's name on it, which they are going to ship to her in Edmonton.
Her gesture ended up being good luck for Hall, who scored his first two goals with New Jersey in its win on Tuesday. She's planning to attend Hall's return to Edmonton, when the Devils play the Oilers at Rogers Place on Jan. 12.
"It's a pretty meaningful game to go to, since I think the fans will welcome him back very positively," Styre said. "I feel torn now between my Edmonton fandom and my [Devils] fandom now that I've had this wonderful experience on the East Coast. Luckily the teams are in separate conferences to make my life a bit easier."