The NHL first taught Ariana Grande love, patience and pain.
Hockey historian Mike Commito sent Twitter ablaze on Saturday when he uncovered a 21-year-old article from the Sun Sentinel featuring a beaming five-year-old Ariana Grande-Butera, clad in a Panthers red jersey, riding the ‘ole Zamboni at a home game.
But that’s barely breaking the ice.
The 1998 story, headlined “Boca kid gets a puck and ice,” reads: “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.”
It turns out Grande reveled in packed arenas long before she turned into the mega-pop star you’ll likely see take home a Grammy on Sunday.
And, in the hockey spirit, it only took a quick trip to the medics and an ice pack to get Grande back in action.
“What are the odds of this happening,” her dad, Edward, told the newspaper at the time.
The celeb’s mother, Joan, said they shelled out $200 to hitch a ride in the ice-smoothing machine.
And Joan had the purest response to the photo being broadcast all over social media, tweeting, “how cute is she??? this was the second time she got hit actually, right before the zamboni ride… but she was amazingly brave even then and wouldn’t miss the ride…. proud of her then and now.. and honestly I still have that article on my refrigerator at my office..”
Hopefully Grande doesn’t suffer a hat trick.