I do love living in a city that has professional hockey. Aside from my interest and fascination with the sport itself, I am a big fan of spectacle and I have a thing for being part of a large, excited crowd, and NHL hockey fits the bill quite perfectly.
Especially playoff hockey.
The upper paragraph notwithstanding, I have neither the finances nor the sustained interest to attend all the playoff games that get played at the local arena (although I could the year I’m writing this – the silver lining of having your home team finish the regular season second-last in the league) so my strategy has always been to buy tickets to the last available home game of each series (ie game 6 or game 7). That way if the series goes long I get to attend what is sure to be an exciting and important game, but if the series gets decided in five games or less my tickets get refunded and I get to try again for the next series (provided of course that the Senators won said series).
And so it was on April 26th, 2015 that I attended game 6 of the opening series of the Stanley Cup playoffs, a powerful local rivalry between my beloved Ottawa Senators and the evil Habitants, the Montreal Canadiens. The crowd was a sea of two shades of red, as half the crowd donned hometown jerseys while the other half were proudly defiant in their darker, blood-red Habs jerseys. Luckily we’re all Canadians* (note: not necessarily Canadiens) so we’re friendly enough with the whole rivalry thing, even (especially) once the $12 beers start flowing.
One of the big drawbacks to my NHL playoffs ticket-buying strategy is the distinct possibility of watching your team’s season end abruptly and sadly before your very eyes, which is exactly what happened on this night, as the Sens fell to the Habs by a score of 2-0. The disappointment of getting knocked out of the playoffs was exacerbated exponentially by that damn song the Canadiens fans always sing when they are in the lead, and the fact that Subban – one of my least favourite players in the NHL** (the other is Byfuglien) assisted on the empty net goal that came with one second left in regulation time. Sheesh.
And just like that, there went another season of professional hometown hockey, one that proved to be much shorter (and by extension, cheaper) than I would have liked it to be.
But that’s hockey.
*When you cut me, do I not bleed Tim Hortons coffee?
**No, I’m not a racist. I don’t like the guy because he plays dirty and always acts like an innocent choirboy every time he gets called on a penalty, not because he’s black. Geez.