Game on for love

DEREK PUDDICOMBE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:30 AM ET

For Ryan and Susan Latreille the 2004/05 NHL lockout led to love.

In the middle of playoff season, Ryan usually finds himself, if not at a hockey game, in front of a television screen with a group of friends, fanatically cheering on the Ottawa Senators.

But in May 2004, with the Sens out of the playoffs thanks to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ryan found himself walking through the doors of his local video store to pick up a couple of movies.

But what caught his eye wasn't the latest Hollywood flick, but the eyes of a woman who would become his wife.

"All of a sudden, I had a new objective," said Ryan, 32. Not able to get up the nerve to ask Susan out on a date while in her company, he threw caution to the wind when he arrived home, called the store and asked her out.

FALL IN LOVE

With hockey out of the way due to the 2004/05 NHL lockout the couple had plenty of time to fall in love. In May 2005, Ryan proposed and in October they were married.

Ryan is one of the Ottawa Senators biggest fans and quite possibly the most energized -- he has earned his nickname "Hyper."

Susan, on the other hand, was the opposite to her fanatical hockey husband. She grew up in a family more interested in boxing than hockey. But after meeting Ryan she couldn't resist his enthusiasm.

"I've really inherited his love for it," said Susan.

Ryan's devotion and enthusiasm for the team began when the Senators arrived in the capital in 1992. He was 17 years old and applied for a job at Frank Clair Stadium, where the team played before their permanent home in Kanata was built. He wanted a job as a peanut vendor to get as close to the team as possible. But he landed a better job that got him even closer -- serving food and alcohol to fans in the Gold section.

From there, his affinity quickly grew and shortly he and a group of friends began painting their faces and wearing Senator costumes and other extravagant and elaborate fan garb when the team finally reached the playoffs.

The "founders of craziness" also boast creating one of the best amateur replicas of the Stanley Cup and have had pictures taken of the group by the Senators that hang in the team's workout room. When at a game, the Latreilles don't like to sit still and just watch.

"I have a duty to energize the crowd," said Ryan.


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