I really started to get into hockey once I hit high school. Our gym class was street hockey in the fall, indoor hockey in the winter (with some volleyball), and street hockey in the spring (with some softball). Each time, you got to choose which sport you wanted to play, and I remember tossing my stick in the pile and the gym teacher throwing them to each side to pick up teams.
Funny story, my brother in law is from Cornwall, and used to go to Royals games. He gave me a Doug Gilmour signed stick about a year or two after Gilmour had played for the Royals and he played for the Blues (I think). I broke it at school during a game. I didn't think much of it until I really started watching hockey more. Flash forward to 2001, and Gillete had just bought the Habs and they were doing training camp in Vail, CO. I went up to watch, and was standing along the glass while they were on the ice in a fairly empty rink. Jeff Hackett was flipping pucks against the glass where I was standing and chuckling, soon a couple of other guys joined in. That's when I finally noticed a guy standing next to me, I looked over and smiled, he looked at me and smiled. It was Gilmour. I told him the story of using his Royals stick and he offered to sign one for me. I've never been much for autographs or collectibles, so I politely declined and was just happy to be talking with him. I met a few other guys that afternoon when they went mountain biking, all in all a neat experience as the players were pretty relaxed as there wasn't a throng of people following them everywhere.
I remember the Cup in '86, the playoffs the following years, but definitely have fond memories of '93. Still have all of my ticket stubs, and I went to every single game in Montreal that playoff year. I had a boss (worked at Radio Shack at the time while I was in college) that would get on the phone lines with me while at work, trying to call through to the box office every time the next round went on sale. First few games, I got standing room only tickets, but from the 2nd round on, I got good seats in the whites. The euphoria of that season has stuck with me forever, and even when the Habs when another Cup, I don't think I'll have that youthful excitement. Just a special time in my life that year. It was also fun to go to a D1 NCAA hockey school (Clarkson), there were a few future NHLers there at the time, Craig Conroy, Todd Marchant, Todd White.
So for me, it's not a player or two that sucked me in. Hockey was just what I grew up in. I do, however, still wear #21.