For some people fan night gives fans a chance to get up close and personal with their favorite athletes. When meeting Shane Doan or Keith Yandle it makes it that much cooler when you cheer for them on the ice.
For Nicole Olivier it was a little more exciting than most people as this was her birthday and she got to meet her favorite player / future husband Lauri Korpikoski. Even gave him a little gift of Swedish fish candy. Korps is on a tear lately and has a goal vs the last 4 Finish goal tenders he faced and faces Kiprusoff in 2 weeks.
Nicole is not your typical fan as she is a bit more obsessed. When it comes to sports a little obsession goes a long way. If we had another 17,000 fans with the same amount of passion we would never worry about attendance or ownership problems. Nicole makes every game she can and even invited her dad to a game. This is what she had to say: “What a fun night! Dad LOVED going to the game so much so that he wants season tickets! LOL. ♥ We enjoyed warm-ups together. He didn’t want to leave. We had great seats near Jenni! Enjoyed her dancing during periods and the “You Suck” chant. Soooo Happy we won! Goals scored by MY Korpi and “Burrito” Hanzal!!! Anyways, a good night overall!”
Nicole also made a statement “The excitement of finding out that the event of the season lands on your birthday was beyond amazing. What a perfect gift for any birthday! I didn’t know if I wanted to completely embarrass myself or just keep it cool. I left the arena without any of the players knowing it was my birthday. I enjoyed being around great friends and the team on my 28th birthday! I’m 28. Twenty Eight is a good number.”
Why is 28 such a great number for this 28 year old? Well the fact maybe her boy Korpikoski has that number sewn to his sweater and as we have learned, she is quite fond of him. Nicole has been a fan for over a decade stemming from a commercial featuring Paul Mara. Nicole is a native of Glendale, AZ but this is the first season she has had season tickets. It shows the culture of hockey in the desert. It will not happen overnight but after a decade you would hope to see many take the plunge into season tickets and support the team as Nicole did. I myself m a first time season ticket holder but have been to more than half the home games since 1996. Especially since moving to Surprise, AZ and attending nearly every home game. The key is to getting people out during midweek games.
Having been sick I personally missed this event but know how it goes. Been to the Coyotes Carnival and seeing the stations where 2 players would sign and take pictures shows you that these are the most fan friendly athletes in all of professional sports. BTW all money from the Carnival went to Coyotes charities.
Just another example of why hockey will work in the desert. Too many passionate fans who will continue poking the embers until this movement catches fire. Besides location there is no reason not to get 15,000-17,000 butts in the seats. Right now the avg attendance dipped just under 12,000 per game. Dead last in the league currently. Real fans need to grab casual fans and get them to games push, pull, or tow. It is up to us to grow the game until an owner is secured. Then and only then will fan confidence be available to purchase season tickets which are the key to sustaining the fan base.
This will be a birthday to remember for Nicole and to all fans a reminder of how great our Coyotes are.