Kyle Leathers


Name:

Kyle Leathers

Find Me On:

Twitter

Location:

Maine (my home state) and Massachusetts (where I go to college)

Why The Devils?:

When I was a kid, I did what most boys do: I joined the pee-wee baseball team in the spring and the pee-wee basketball team in the winter. The problem was, I really sucked. I was such an uncoordinated kid. If there was a giant open field with one tree in the middle of it, I would somehow find a way to crash into it. So it didn’t take me long to hate sports (you’re supposed to hate the stuff you’re bad at, right?). But there was something about hockey that seemed appealing. Nobody else I knew ever talked about hockey though, and there weren’t any teams nearby for me to watch so I just kind of continued to hate sports. In 8th grade I went to my first AHL game, which was a ton of fun. It was the Portland Pirates, which at the time was the Capitals affiliate. I, wanting to be a rebellious kid, decided to cheer for the opposing team: the Lowell Lock Monsters. Coincidentally, the Devils would later buy the team and I would end up seeing many Lowell Devils games at the Tsongas Arena.

I still had no ambition to pay attention to pro sports until late in high school. I wish I could remember what exactly caused me to watch a random NHL game on the CBC that night, but I was flipping through the channels and decided to stop to watch the New Jersey Devils playing against the Ottawa Senators. I was immediately hooked. Marty was a big reason why. I had never seen anything like that before. I don’t remember who won, but it was the first full NHL game I had watched and from then on, I was a devoted Devils fan. I guess it was just fate.

That’s not to say I don’t like the Boston Bruins. They are, after all, my home team (for now). Even when they beat the Devils (which, in the past couple of seasons has been rare) I don’t get mad. I love Bobby Orr way more than Wayne Gretzky (Mickey Mouse organization, my ass). But to me, the Devils are like the Bruins of old. I appreciate a good working class team, and the Devils still feel very working class to me. Maybe because they’re so underappreciated.

Greatest Personal Memory:

(a game that was perhaps meaningless to others, but holds a special memory for you)

Devils vs. Bruins at TD Garden, December 13, 2007. It was the first NHL game I ever went to. There was a huge blizzard in Massachusetts that day, but they didn’t cancel the game. And this was a bad storm. Cars were stuck on the highway for hours. Want to know how meaningless this game was to others? Only about 2,000 people showed up to watch it. I had a balcony seat, but by the end of the game everyone had moved down into the lower seats (and there were plenty of lower seats still open). The fun part was, a lot of people at the game were Devils fans since Devils fans in Boston only get to see them play twice per season. Oh, and the Devils won easily, 3-1.

Greatest Team Memory:

I wish I could say it was one of the Stanley Cup Finals games, but I wasn’t a fan until after they won their last Cup. But thank God for Youtube. I get chills watching them hoist the Stanley Cup in 1995, 2000, and 2003. That said, my greatest team memory would have to be the retro jersey game on St. Patrick’s Day 2010. I traveled all the way down to NJ that morning and when I got there I was told that Paul Martin would be coming back that night for the first time since his injury. It was completely unexpected. Plus, the Devils were playing the Penguins, and they were looking for their 5th straight win against them that season. Not only did they get the win, but Paul Martin scored a goal. Everyone went nuts. Fleury got pulled. Crosby and Langenbrunner exchanged words. The Devils won 5-2. It was a good ol’ fashioned hockey game. And on a personal note, it was great to finally meet a lot of Devils fans that I had only known through Twitter. Plus, I got Ken Daneyko to sign my shirt.

But I’m anxiously awaiting the day when I can say my greatest team memory is a Stanley Cup celebration.

What Makes YOU a Crazy Devils Fan?:

Besides the fact that I’m a Devils fan from Maine? There is a Devils connection to Maine though. A lot of people forget that the Portland Pirates used to be the Portland Mariners, which was a Devils affiliate team for a few years. Still, I don’t see any other Mainers proudly flaunting their Devils attire.

Favorite Current and Favorite All-Time Devil:

That’s such a hard question. Patrik Elias is a Devils legend. He’ll have his number retired someday. It’s a tie for my favorite all-time Devil, between Elias and Scotty Stevens. But for current Devils players, like I said, I love a working class team, and David Clarkson feels like that kind of player to me. He plays hard and he’s not afraid to start throwing punches. And the number 23 has always been my lucky number, so it seems I was destined to get a Clarkson jersey someday. But as anyone who follows me on Twitter would know, Andy Greene holds a special place in my heart too.

Last modified on December 10, 2011

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