My trip to Canada – Part III: Hockey

I didn’t take that many pictures during the games. More exactly I took close to none pictures. Hai_di already had her camera ready before I did and she’s the better photographer anyway. So this post will contain only a few pictures and one of them even taken by her. To witness my hockey glory *g*

We had our first hockey world championship experience already at Frankfurt airport. We booked an Air Canada flight and didn’t know that that would be in cooperation with Lufthansa and we’d had to check-in with Lufthansa. So we went to the Air Canada counter to check in. We entered the terminal and the first thing I saw was the logo of the German Hockey Federation at the Condor counter. And a lot of young men in suites. Could that be..? Yes, it was. The German Team on their way to Halifax! The two of us debated for a little while if it would be very embarrasing to open our suitcase, get our Team Germany jersey and have it signed by the players. Guess which side won :-)
Signed Jersey

The team wasn’t complete in that moment, the Berlin players are missing and some of the NHL players of course. The moment went by so fast and a day later in our hotel room in Toronto we tried to figure out who’s who, but there is still one signature we just can’t decipher. We checked the team roster and all, but still. The weird thing is, we met that guy in Halifax in the street once more, where he walked with one of our NHL players Christoph Schubert and we stopped and asked to get Schubert signature. And I didn’t know if I already got the other guy’s signature so I gave him my jersey as well, but he discovered his signature right there. But we still haven’t recognized him and we still can’t decipher that signature. And we couldn’t really ask “Oh, and WHO are you exactly?”, could we *g*?

Trikot Trikot

Any idea what that could possibly mean? Either upside or down…

Meeting the team before we even boarded the plane seemed like a good sign for more happy hockey things to come. And there were… The next crazy hockey thing to happen was, that our hotel in Toronto was to be directly next to Maple Leafs Garden! How crazy was that!?!? There is only the outer structure of Maple Leafs Gardens left, so there wasn’t much to see, but I still got a kick out of that view from our window.

Maple Leaf Gardens

The first major attraction we visited on our first day in Toronto was The Hockey Hall of Fame. Who would have figured :-)? But it was a bit rainy, so we wanted to do something indoor and the Hall of Fame seemed like a great place to spend the morning. And it was. There was a special exhibition about the IIHF and the world championship and it featured a few german players and exhibits as well. We spent quite some time admiring the exhibits of Gretzky and Lemieux and quite a few more great players as well as some old hockey jerseys and a replica of the Habs’ lockerroom and all that kind of stuff.

Entrance to Hockey Hall of Fame The Great One Old Leafs Jersey

And I had my first shot at a hockey goal. Mind you that I’ve never played hockey. Neither on skates or on foot. And I didn’t have to put on skates for that on, thank God. But it looked like a fun thing to do, so I was brave enough to step into the rink. The supervisor at this part of the Hall of Fame was really nice and helpful and I guess he switched the game to an easier level to let me have my moments of glory. I had five shots and scored three! Yay! Supposedly I even was the first on this morning to do a hattrick. Like I said, I wouldn’t be suprised if he had tampered with the computer :-)

Hockey Star

The last thing we did in the Hall of Fame was to go and see the “Holy Gral”. Also known as the Stanley Cup :-). I knew it’s a huge cup, but it really is HUGE. Not just as honor to win but as a “thing” in real life. That’s my arm next to it, in case anyone wonders… And of course we had to check the rosters of all the different winners on it. Our Cologne Sharks captain Dave McLlwain won it once as well, but we didn’t know with which team. Shame on us. But we found the only (so far) German winner, who became the national head coach two years ago. Uwe Krupp. Who lost some of my respect due to his speeches in Halifax, but I’m definitely still impressed that he is on this one.

stanley German Stanley Cup winner

This hockey day concluded with buying McCowns “The 100 greatest Hockey Arguments” and having dinner at Gretzky’s. There are not screens in the restaurant, which suprised us and we did miss the first period of the Habs – Flyers game. But we watched the rest in the bar and had a great time. It’s just so much more fun to watch a game in company. And the intermissions were spent with admiring some more of Gretzky memoribilia. A really cool place for a hockey fan.

Gretzky's first skates

There was not that much more hockey stuff in Toronto unless the futile search for some nice Maple Leafs ladies wear. You could be jerseys and t-shirts in some shops. And every once in a while we came across something pink with a glittery Maple Leaf on it. No thanks! I finally found a T-shirt I liked, but all in all I was surprised with the lack of Maple Leafs clothes to buy. It might have been because hockey season (for the Leafs) was already over? There was tons of stuff for the Blue Jays (baseball) but honestly, who cares about baseball :-)?

The “Hockey in Halifax” part was a lot of fun to. So, Team Germany didn’t do as well as it was expected, but we fans did our best to support them. Even if our coach might disagree. I could go on and on about the wole fans vs federation debatte and some more unpleasant stuff, but I don’t want to drag myself down. So I’ll keep my mouth shut. We had a lot of fun during our games and we definitely impressed the Candian audience. I mentioned that in the other post already.
As the German games in arena were never sold out (except for the Canada game) it was easy to assemble all german fans in one section. We could be so much louder and sounded more impressive as if we all would have been dispersed in the audience. In almost every game we sang and cheered non-stop no matter what the score was. We sang all the classic fan support songs and at least one which I didn’t knew before. Not in the fan-context at least. The “Schlumpf-Lied” (Smurf-Song), which is such a catchy tune, that just writing about it, almost makes me sing and jump and turn again. Yeah, I’m a little crazy, but which hockey fan isn’t :-)?
We all assembled in that one section, so why not decorate it with the colors of our flag? It was a really crazy and cool experience to walk into the arena, with a lot of baloons and with singing german fan songs.

German Fans in action German Fans at the Metro Centre

I think our craziness was only met (but not beat) by the craziness of the Latvian fans, who once rented a strech-limo to cruise the Halifax streets. Finnish and norwegian fans were rather low-key in comparison.

Latvian Fans, Halifax Hockey Fans

The Canadians on the other hand knew how to celebrate a goal. But they have had enough practice as well, especially when they played against us *sigh* As depressing at it was for us, it was still a nice thing to watch.

Canada scores... Canada wins

Wow, two Canada posts in one day. But I worked on the first one already yesterday. And I still haven’t finished my finished my income tax return. Although I really need the money, because Bro #3 finally got the bill for the damage I caused with his car a few weeks ago. And it’s about 980 €, which is about 1500 $. :-( I will never get that much money from tax refund and thus have to spend some of my savings. But I can’t whine about it, because the damage was totally my fault…

2 Comments

  1. Another great post, I enjoyed reading. I’m glad you enjoyed your time in Canada. I’d love to make it to one of the World Championship tournaments some time. I’d prefer to go see one in Europe, I think it would make the experience even more memorable.

  2. Thanks. This was my second world championship of hockey, the other one in Vienna (Austria) in 2005. No matter where it’s hosted, just meeting all these hockey crazy people from all around the world is really fun. I hope one day you’ll be able to be part of it.

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