About Me

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© Jeff Obermeyer 2000-2009

So why all this fuss about hockey in a city that has never had an NHL team? Good question. To answer that we need to go into the way back machine…

I watched a little hockey when I was a kid in Philadelphia, but not much. It wasn’t until I went to my first Thunderbirds game in 1989 that I really started to pay attention. After that I started watching Hockey Night in Canada with my girlfriend, and we went to some TBirds game together. By the 1991-92 season we were ready to by a half-season ticket package, supplemented with a fair number of single game tickets. When you find a woman like that, you have to marry her – Holly and I have actually been Thunderbirds season ticket holders together longer than we’ve been married.

My interest in the history of the game in Seattle grew as a result of me starting to collect Thunderbirds memorabilia. I met some fans who had been coming to games since the days of the Totems, heard a few stories, and picked up some old programs, pucks, and photos, as opportunities arose. I also started the original Seattle Hockey Homepage, which though little more than a showcase for my growing collection, put me in touch with even more Totems fans.

I looked for information on the teams that came before the Thunderbirds, but there was very little info available in those early days of the internet. So I started going to the library. A lot. To look at old newspaper microfilm, which is as unbearably exciting as it sounds. I spent countless hours at the main branch of Seattle library feeding dimes into the copy machine attached to the microfilm reader, eventually amassing two bookshelves full of articles. Now that I had all this stuff, what to do with it?

During this same time some very fortuitous circumstances put me in touch with the all-time Seattle hockey great, Guyle Fielder. Through Guyle I met Bill MacFarland, Val Fonteyne, and some of the other former Totems, all of who were very gracious with their time. It was with them in mind that I started trying to fashion all these articles and interview notes into a book.

Another odd set of circumstances occurred that resulted in Arcadia Publishing contacting me about writing Hockey in Seattle. They heard from a friend (thanks!) that I was working on the project, and wanted to publish it. Mind you, I hadn’t actually written anything yet. But they wanted it available for the start of the 2004-05 hockey season, so I put the whole thing together in three months and they got it out by November. From first contact to the book release was only nine months.

Hockey in Seattle was an awesome opportunity, and I met a lot of great people as a result. That being said, it was more a photographic history of the game in keeping with Arcadia’s plan, and I still wanted to write a more in depth history of the game. Whereas Hockey in Seattle took three months, Emerald Ice took three years before I was satisfied enough to self-publish it in 2007.

So why do I care? I don’t know. I love hockey, I guess. I love watching it, and I love sitting around with my friends and talking about it. Fans have followed hockey in Seattle since 1915, and that history is an important part of our past as a city. Besides, I’m lucky enough to be married to a woman who loves the game just as much as I do, so there’s no way I’m going to stop now.