I fell asleep sometime before midnight on Monday, anxiously awaiting the next day. I woke up around 5:30 and couldn’t fall back asleep, so I decided to get up and get moving. After packing and breakfast we were on the road a little after 9:00. The drive to Toronto was uneventful, other than the increased traffic once we hit Toronto proper. Around 11:30 we parked and hit up the St. Lawrence Market for lunch. It’s a really cool place and definitely worth checking out if you’re in town.
After lunch we walked over to the Hockey Hall Of Fame. There is a lot to see there, and some really cool interactive exhibits. Of course, no visit would be complete without seeing the Stanley Cup itself.
I did go up there and check it out. It was cool to see the Blackhawks teams from 09-10 and 12-13 on there, and there even is a blank space for the infamous 04-05 lockout season.
I think my favorite exhibit though was about the St. Louis Blues. It wasn’t anything fancy, just a blank touchscreen monitor that said “PLAY.” When touched, it played the following video:
After that, we went back to the market so Neil could buy some mustard. Seriously, that’s all he’s been talking about since we started planning this trip. I am not joking.
Anyway, he got his mustard and then we fought through nightmare traffic to get to our hotel. After relaxing at our hotel for a bit, we headed out for dinner at King Noodle, a great little Chinese place near our hotel. The food came fast and we ate quickly, then walked to the venue…well, I practically jogged, because I’m ridiculous and excited beyond reason. We got to the venue a little over an hour before draw time, picked up our tickets from will call, and headed right in. Um…we were a bit early, as this picture from our seats shows.
Anyway, after awhile players started entering, warming up, and practicing. I got a “what’s up?” nod from Ben Hebert when he was walking in, which was pretty cool.
There was a small opening ceremony, with all the teams for the draw marching in and being introduced.
After the national anthem and a short video re-capping the season so far, play was underway. We really wanted to see Team Homan take on Team Sigfridsson, so we moved across the ice to the other side.
We moved again just to see things from a different angle.
As you can see, there were five games going on simultaneously. Honestly, it was hard to watch more than one match at a time, but as the draw wore on and things spread out time-wise it got easier. Homan won, by the way.
The curling was awesome, and we were close to the action. Really though, probably the coolest thing was seeing other players and rinks throughout the arena taking in the action. We saw Team Sidorova (Russia), members of Team Paetz (Switzerland), Members of Team Edin (Sweden), and Team Feltscher (Switzerland). Glenn Howard and Jennifer Jones were also hanging around for a bit.
Players were hanging around in the lounge after their games as well, which was cool to see. We were a little bit starstruck today and didn’t want to be “those guys,” but after seeing how nice and approachable everyone is there’s no doubt we’re going to be getting some pictures and autographs.
I’ve been back in the room for over an hour and I’m still buzzing. First draw is in about 9 hours, and I’m going to get to see my favorite rink (Team Muirhead) play…I’ve been wanting to see them in person for years, so hopefully this beer I’m drinking will help me sleep.
Phil Darin is Windy City’s resident armchair curler who even plays from time to time. He often loses on the ice, but he always wins at broomstacking. Would you like to hear more about curling, whisky, or gambling? Are you Eve Muirhead?
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