Hey everyone! My name is Josh Linneburg and I’m one of the new writers at Winging it in Motown! As others have done I’d like to share a bit of my backstory and how I became a Wings fan and writer for WIIM.
Some interesting things about me before we get into the good stuff: Friends is hands-down my favorite TV show, my favorite movie is without a doubt Die Hard and I’m a Junior Finance student at Oakland University. I hope to one day be a sports agent, a decision which was solidified by watching the HBO series Ballers. I absolutely love Chipotle with the intensity of a billion Suns and I used to play Call of Duty competitively on the Xbox 360. I’ve also memorized all NHL 1st overall picks, and the teams those guys went to, from 1996-2016. My goal is to extend that back into the 1980s someday. And lastly I’ve never actually played ice hockey and have only ever been ice skating maybe 10 or so times in my entire life, although I’m a pretty good self-taught inline skater.
And with that out of the way, on to the good stuff!
I guess you could say I was born to be a Red Wings fan. The magical 1996-97 season started just two days after I was born on October 3rd, 1996. That’s right - I’ve never watched a Wings home game that didn’t have the “Hockeytown” logo at center ice.
And before I forget, I’d like to say a big “You’re welcome” to Wings fans everywhere. I mean, the evidence is incontrovertible; I was born and the Wings won two Cups immediately thereafter. Seems like a pretty strong correlation to me!
Anyway, my parents were crazy about the Red Wings and I followed suit. It didn’t take me very long to pick out a favorite player, that flashy guy wearing #91 with the white skates. The Wings winning Stanley Cups in 1997 and 1998 was cool and all, but it was Sergei Fedorov who really piqued my interest in hockey. I loved watching him play because, well, he was capable of doing things like this.
But most of all this.
(Thanks to the NHL’s YouTube channel for the great highlights, I could watch them all day - and sometimes do!)
To this day I still list him as my favorite hockey player and I didn’t even have the privilege of watching him tear the league apart in the early 90’s. A lot of what I remember is from 1999 on.
The first Cup win I remember is 2002, and I’m pretty sure the first Wings game I attended was for the 2002 playoffs. My dad, grandpa, a neighbor of ours and myself were about to head into The Joe when we were approached by some people wanting to buy our blueline lower bowl tickets. Their offer? $1500 per ticket. My grandpa and our neighbor began to high-five, already certain my dad would be willing to give them up and instead watch the game at Hockeytown Cafe with a few extra thousand dollars to spend on the night. And I’m sure that’s what would have happened if not for the wide eyed 5 year old kid who was so excited to see Fedorov and the rest of the Wings in-person, he was crushed at the prospect of anything less. I mean, how could you say “No” to this kid?
Needless to say, we went to the game and I remember standing the whole time to cheer my favorite player and team on.
It was pretty devastating when Fedorov bolted to Anaheim, for LESS MONEY to boot. My dad refused to be the one to tell me what happened, it was my (very brave) mom who broke the news Feds wouldn’t be suiting up for the Wings anymore. But things were alright in the end because the team kept on winning, and having two new superstars in Datsyuk and Zetterberg didn’t hurt either.
But I realized over the years the Wings didn’t face a lot of accountability in the local media. You couldn’t really go anywhere and read someone’s analysis of the team, what they thought would benefit them or what the Wings might want to try that’s different. There’s a lot of fluff out there but not much of it has substance.
And when the Wings stopped winning Cups every couple years and instead began to settle for limping into the playoffs only to lose in the first or second round, the tone in the media didn’t change. I thought there should be some more urgency to win before Hank and Datsyuk left and less talk about how much we like our team the way it is or about how Dan Cleary’s latest extension is actually going to help us win games.
That’s when I stumbled on Winging in it Motown sometime in 2013. I became an avid reader of the site right away. Although I didn’t make an SBNation account until March of this year, I read every article. And I thought it’d be the coolest thing to write like the guys over at Winging it in Motown and have a public forum to discuss my thoughts, memories and ideas about the team. So I started my own blog and began to post articles about the team that were too long for Facebook.
Not long after that, I noticed there was an article up on Winging it in Motown asking that anyone interested in writing for WIIM submit their contact info and any writing they’ve done. I submitted what articles I’d posted and the rest, as they say, is history.
I’m really looking forward to the 2016-17 season, mostly because it’ll be the first season I get to experience as a writer for Winging it in Motown. I’m also very excited to get to know you all better over the course of this next year as well!
Let’s Go Red Wings! Retire #91!