Thursday, December 05, 2013

Tour de hockey part I

For several years I've contemplating doing another hockey road trip. I traveled to Tampa Bay and Miami in 2010 to watch the Penguins take on the Lightning and Florida Panthers… over 1,800 miles round-trip and unfortunately, the Penguins lost both games. 

This time, the plan was slightly different and was based upon a wedding in Portland, ME on November 9, I couldn't leave Charlotte before November 7, had to be in Washington, DC for a work event on November 11 and back to NC on November 15 - talk about a time crunch! But, with the help of Tyler, a fellow hockey fan who was willing to take on this crazy trip with me, we figured out a plan: Charlotte, NC to Boston, MA to Portland, ME to Washington, DC to Pittsburgh, PA back to Charlotte. 

Some trip highlights:

  • TD Garden in Boston has the best pulled roast beef sandwiches - $10 for a large sandwich plus kettle-cooked chips (I think it was Back Bay Carvery)
  • Boston Bruin-themed smashed pennies
  • "Do they have a Little Italy in every city?" "You mean Chinatown?" "No… Little Italy"
  • Impromptu 5k in Portland
  • Prudential Center's interesting bathroom decorations (more on that tomorrow)
  • The NJ Devil (mascot) had an awesome Movember mustache
  • Devil fans are very supportive of their team, but the general vibe in the arena is definitely one of hostility - I would not recommend wearing an opposing team's jersey
  • The section beside us at Verizon Center could NOT figure out what their seats were - every time there was a stoppage in play, it took at least 10 seat changes before everyone had a seat and eventually the usher had to come try to sort it out
  • Washington and Columbus went goal for goal and forced OT
  • In three of the games the home team won and each of those had 5 goals 
I should've taken more video at each of the arenas. Every arena has unique features and traditions that take on a life of their own. For anyone who missed Jussi Jokinen's time with the Carolina Hurricanes, you missed the start of a very unique tradition of screaming "Jussi" during the national anthem ("oh say can JUSSI"), though I blame that tradition on NC State Fans who started it with "the rocket's RED glare" - throughout the 2011 season, there were so many other player's names incorporated into the national anthem that the PA announcer actually told fans before the singing of the national anthem to please respect the anthem by only singing the actual words. 

Check back tomorrow for a video recap of the trip!


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