For those who follow the United Federation of Planets annual holiday calendar, there is no greater holiday than First Contact Day, celebrated every April 5. But this is not a post about Zefram Cochrane successful launch of earth's first warp-capable vessel, the Phoenix, attracting the attention of a Vulcan ship, the T'Plana-Hath, which lead to an historic encounter between Vulcans and humans that April night in Bozeman, Montana in 2063.
No, this is a post about first contacts of another variety.
One of the most significant ways fans connect with their teams is through encounters with their favourite players. A player taking time to autograph a kid's jersey or programme can make a lasting impression. Being tossed a stick at the end of the night from the third star of the game or getting a fist bump from the Sens before the players step on the ice for another game can define team loyalties for a lifetime.
Unfortunately, I've never met any Senators. But one of the great things about social media is that connections can be made through things like twitter or Facebook. I was planning to write this post anyway (that's what happens when you're a Star Trek fan and Sens blogger), but I was fortunate enough to have such a social media connection on Thursday. Erik Karlsson participated in an autograph session at an Ottawa Bridgehead location as part of fundraising efforts for the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa. SensForLife11, in possession of a Karlsson piece I drew last year, went to the event and had it signed.
Sure, I didn't get to meet Karlsson, but I got something even more special (from my perspective at least). The subject of one of my pieces has actually seen my work! That's awesome! That's amazing! It's pretty crazy to me that what I do for fun has reached that far. I started drawing hockey players when I was a little kid. I did it because I loved to draw and I loved certain players. Now, 20+ years later, my methodology is pretty much the same: I generally paint or draw the players I love. That means a lot of Erik Karlsson.
This is a pretty unforgettable moment for me. For my art. For my Sens fandom.
What about you? Which Senators "first contacts" have made an impression on you? Which players have strengthened your connection to the team? Who was the first player you met? Share your stories!