I took Katie to the Mallards Game Wednesday Night for her 18th birthday. It's what she wanted to do, predictably, since she has grown up around the team, literally.

My wife went into labor at a Mallards playoff game in 1997, and Katie came to her first game a few weeks later. Katie first kicked on a Mallards bus trip we took with listeners to Madison earlier that season. She has been at home at the Marsh, growing up around the likes of Hugo Proulx, Garry Gulash, Patrick Levesque, Marty Fillion and the like for the last 18 years. So it was natural for her to want to return 'home' another time this season.

The Mallards didn't disappoint. Carrie and Oz were quick to offer up their Zamboni's for a nostalgic trip around the ice, and Ron (Who works security behind the scenes, but sings the anthem beautifully as well) told Katie she could high-five the players as they hit the ice. I watched as her smile lit up the dark arena, remembering the years when she had to stand on a folding chair just to reach the outstretched hand of Kerry Toporowski as he walked into the locker room.

Katie had so much fun at the Mallards game for her birthday!

Posted by Tree Dwyer on Thursday, April 23, 2015

I've always felt like the Mallards were a second-family of sorts, looking out for Katie, and Joey too. Aduba, Levine, and a host of others who took an extra minute to say hello, when maybe they only wanted to get on the bus for the next long road trip. These guys get it. Maybe that's why so many of them have stuck around the Quad Cities, bringing their own kids around the game.

The team is down 2-1 to the Rapid City Rush, and they play game 4 tonight at the iWireless Center. Bring your kid out for a great time, a great game, and a little trip down memory lane. Look at the sweaters retired to the rafters, and then look out on the ice and wonder if the next jersey to hang there is skating a shift right now. It's our team, and our building--maybe it's our year. See you at the game!