What better way to readapt to Canada than to go to a hockey game?
The Ottawa Senators made it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and on Monday night, it was game 3 against the NY Rangers. We headed to Scotiabank under a dramatic stormy sky—it was over 27°C that night (and it’s now 4°C… go figure).
Every time we go to a game or to a concert, I curse Ottawa’s poor city planning. I know Kanata was supposed to boom and I know it may have seemed to be the best place for an arena at the time, but really, it’s a pain to get there. It took us 25 minutes to enter the parking lot—20,000 people heading to the same place at the same time can be messy.
Unlike concerts, games start on time since they are broadcast on TV. At 7:25 p.m., we finally parked somewhere and ran to the arena, right on time for the singing of the national anthem. There were few Rangers fans (I guess it’s a bit far to drive to Ottawa) and the arena was entirely white and red. Pretty impressive.
One thing I like with hockey games here, is that people go a bit nuts but the atmosphere is still friendly. Barring occasional excesses and brawls (er… the Vancouver riots, anyone?), no one is going to get killed for supporting the wrong team. Which isn’t always the case for other sports in other parts of the world—see hooliganism in soccer, for instance. I remember soccer games in France where the riot control forces routinely had to intervene with tear gas or water cannons between supporters of rival teams. Sure, people drink a bit too much during the game, they are louder than usual… but as a “neutral” fan, I still feel comfortable with the crowd.
I gave up on trying to sneak my DSLR inside Scotiabank (they don’t even let you keep the cap on your water bottle…) so I made do with my BlackBerry. The Torch features a pretty nice camera—good enough for atmosphere shots.
Ottawa lost (final score was 1-0) but the game was pretty good.