Thanks to Twitter, we now know that Ariana Grande is more than just a pop star and a Grammy Award winner. She’s also a hockey fan too.
Over the weekend, a photo of a newspaper clipping went viral on social media, showing a five-year-old Grande, then known as Ariana Grande-Butera, riding a Zamboni at a Florida Panthers game.
According to a October 10, 1998 Sun Sentinal story, Grande had been struck by pucks twice by the age of five at NHL games. She also was the first person to be hit by a puck in the Panthers’ new arena, BankAtlantic Center.
A real cutie in her red Panthers jersey, tiny Ariana Grande-Butera attracts plenty of attention when she sits in the first row behind the penalty box. Attention from the officials, from the players, from fellow Panther fans.
But the 5-year-old Boca Raton kid, who has gone to just about every home game since she turned 2, also attracts pucks. Yep. Hockey pucks.
At last night’s historic Panther home opener in the squeaky-new arena, her mom, Joan Grande-Butera, was telling Insider about a game last January when her daughter was hit in the right wrist by an errant Gord Murphy shot when _ believe it or not _ she was hit again. This time by a puck fired by an unidentified Tampa Bay player.
According to the story, Grande was rushed to a first aid station where she was diagnosed with a small bruise and given an ice pack.
During the previous game she was struck, the future musician was given sticks and gear from Panthers’ players. The second time her parents got her a gift.
“She’s such a great fan that we bought her the ride at an auction,” her mother said to the paper.
Sunday, a now 25-year-old Ariana Grande tweeted out the photo on her Twitter account. “started from the bottom now we here,” she wrote, quoting a Drake lyric.
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) February 10, 2019
The NHL got wind of the tweet and hours later they invited her to a hockey game.
Yo, @ArianaGrande, come watch some hockey again. We personally invite you.
thank u, next. https://t.co/3eo0VPUONw
— NHL (@NHL) February 10, 2019
During the Grammy Awards this evening, the singer won her first Grammy though she was not there to receive the award.
— Recording Academy / GRAMMYs (@RecordingAcad) February 10, 2019
With the way this weekend has been going, we would not have been surprised if Gary Bettman accepted the award on her behalf.
Grande is not the first pop superstar to love the fastest game on earth. Drake got his start in the entertainment business after filming a 1997 NHL Awards skit. Meanwhile, Justin Bieber has met Alex Ovechkin and has been to a Caps-Leaf game. He also plays hockey himself.
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