Ariana Grande is famous these days for her donut-licking antics and highly successful music career, but long before she ever graced the stage as a performer, Grande was famous in the Florida hockey community for a different achievement.
Grande grew up in Boca Raton, Fla. and was raised as a Florida Panthers fan. According to a story from the Sun Sentinel, Grande even went to the first game ever played at the BB&T Center back in 1998. That was when the then-5-year-old found fame due to an unfortunate coincidence.
"The 5-year-old Boca Raton kid, who has gone to just about every home game since she turned 2, also attracts pucks," a story in the Sun Sentinel from 1998 recalled. "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. That made her the first fan hit in a regular-season game in the new building."
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The story said Grande suffered a bruise to her left wrist from the incident, but all was well by the first intermission, when Grande had the chance to ride on the Zamboni. The Sun Sentinel story reported that Grande was "waving at fans like a queen taking a horse and carriage ride."
So 17 years later, it seemed there were no hard feelings from Grande in her return to the BB&T Center. Her brother Frankie even tweeted reflectively about her return to the place where they spent many an evening growing up.
Wow. Ariana & I have been watching the @FlaPanthers play in this arena since she was a 👶🏼 & now shes performing HER show here! This is CRAY!