Whether it’s for topping the charts or skipping the Grammys, Ariana Grande makes headlines. In 1998, she also made headlines: For getting hit with a puck twice at Florida Panthers games and then riding the Zamboni at the first game in their new arena.
Hockey historian Mike Commito recently dug up a Sun-Sentinel story about a then-five-year-old Ariana Grande-Butera that caught the attention of hockey fans and the singer herself.
Her family had season tickets for the Panthers, seated behind the penalty boxes. One problem: That’s right where pucks can fly into the stands. At a January 1998 game, a shot from Panthers defenseman Gord Murphy accidentally deflected over the glass and hit Grande on the right wrist. The Panthers gave her pieces of equipment as a consolation. She said thank you, next … and was hit with a puck a second time on her left wrist, on a bang-bang play during the Panthers’ home opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Oct. 9, 1998.
According to the Sun Sentinel, Grande was the first fan to be hit by a puck at a Panthers game, which we imagine is an accomplishment on par with her winning “Choice Selfie Taker” at the 2016 Teen Choice Awards.
Grande kept breathin’ and went to first aid, but only had a bruise. Perhaps after getting hit with a second puck she had no tears left to cry, as she hash-tagged her tweet about the story: “Fine After Being Struck 2nd Time.”
As for the Zamboni ride, that was through a charity auction that her mother won with a bid of $200. The photo of Grande — driving straight ahead, not side to side — went viral this week, because it showed her with curly hair, rather than her trademark ponytail.
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) February 10, 2019
“If I’m honest, this is still exactly what i look like without lashes and my pony … anyone who knows me knows me knows, like, I’m 25. I was five here. The only difference now is that hand now says BBQ grill finger,” said Grande, referencing her now infamous Japanese kanji tattoo.
Grande would go on to sing the national anthem at Panthers games and was still rocking Florida hockey sweaters as late as 2013, so perhaps she’ll attend another game, even if it’s one last time.
As of 2019, the Panthers have yet to capture the Stanley Cup, while Grande currently has the No. 1 song in the country with “7 Rings.”