Aaron and Kelly Dell have a love story. that has made it through ten teams, eight cities and roughly 10,000 miles of traveling. Aaron has had the dream of being a National Hockey League goalie. This requires a lot of travel and time spent away from loved ones. They have been together for six and half years and all but 26 months has been spent in hockey seasons.
After meeting though a mutual friend, they had their first date in Fergus falls in the summer of 2010. Kelly had just graduated from high school and Aaron had just finished his freshman year at the University of North Dakota. They went to Perkins and had breakfast food then when to the movie theater that had two movie choices, Twilight was the best option, which they laughed though out the whole thing.
Kelly and Aaron dated for two years before they were walking around the mall one day. They went into a jewelry store and had been browsing for a ring, when Aaron picked out the perfect ring. They looked at one another, “Should we do this?”. A month later they were married in Aaron’s parents back yard in Airdrie, Alberta. Kelly only cared about two things when it came time to walk down the aisle. She wanted a white wedding dress and real flowers. Aaron wanted was to pick the cake which was marble with a custard center, topped with bride and groom rubber ducks, which Kelly collects. After the ceremony, in a perfect homage of Canada and Minnesota style, a bonfire was lite and beers were had.
When talking to Aaron about Kelly, you could hear his love for her in his voice. Even though Kelly and Aaron both said the other one said “I love you” first, one thing is for sure, they love each other to live nearly 2,000 miles apart. The distance has not been easy though. Aaron said that Kelly has always been supportive of my goal of making it to the NHL and besides my parents, she is my biggest supporter. He said “she (Kelly) is my teammate and it’s great that she understands and supports me, so we don’t have to fight between hockey and her.” Even though this year has been easier for them due to Kelly’s slower school schedule and Aaron being able to fly to games instead of riding a bus. Kelly has been able to visit roughly once a month and most recently attended the NHL All Star game in Las Angeles. They are both looking forward to being a “normal” married couple at the end of this school year when Kelly can finish her dietetics program internships in San Jose.
One things that they share, besides a love for hockey, is the drive that each have. Aaron said it is one of the things he loves most about her. They connected on that from the get go. “I have to have a lot of drive to do what I do and I couldn’t imagen being with someone who didn’t understand that.” The biggest thing Aaron has learned over the years of being in long distance marriage is how to communicate, which Kelly joked about “sometimes it’s painful to get him to talk, but it means a lot when he does because he doesn’t open up to very many people, even teammates!”
The things Kelly loves most about Aaron are that he is brutally honest and hilarious. If you read Kelly’s blog, Crazy Pucking World: Life of a hockey wife, she posts about the funny things that Aaron has said over the years. Kelly had people tell her that “I would have slapped him, if he said that to me.” She just laughed stating that “just how Aaron is”, I always know what is going on with him because of that. Sometimes though he can be almost too honest, but he always makes sure you are laughing by the end.
Kelly watches all of Aaron’s games, whether it be in person or on the television. Aaron said that when they first started dating, he was mildly nervous for her to watch him play. Kelly laughed and said that she gets nervous enough for the both of them. She is looking forward to March when they play two games in Minnesota against the Wild. They have a lot of friends and family that are attending those games. She equated it to when Aaron played against the Minnesota Gophers during his time at UND, they have always had such a rivalry and she would also get nervous for him. Kelly said that one of the great things about Aaron is that nothing offends him, which is a great quality when it comes to being a goaltender, because no matter how well he played in the net the loss would get blamed on him.
Kelly and Aaron relationship has been built on trust and mutual respect. Not many couples could have made it through the struggle of going from an undrafted University of North Dakota goaltender, preserving throughout the minor leagues and now is the backup for the San Jose Sharks.
The amount of love that they share is memorable and reminded me of what is extraordinary about life.
Love. Respect. Friendship.