Wednesday, January 15, 2014

the winter classic

So, while many of my friends were nursing hangovers on January 1, I was up at 5 am, driving from Windsor to Ann Arbor in order to freeze my buns off sitting on metal bleachers for the entire day. Why, you may ask?

The Winter Classic is (according to Wikipedia): " event held by the National Hockey League (NHL) on or around New Year's Day in which a regular-season hockey game is played outdoors, in an area with a resident NHL team."

That sounds pretty tame, right?
A few months ago, Paul managed to purchase 4 tickets to the 2014 Winter Classic (two for us and two for his brother & sister-in-law). There were some truly great thing about this particular Winter Classic:
- it was being played in Detroit, home of one of Paul's favourite hockey teams, the Detroit Red Wings
- the two teams involved were the Detroit Red Wings and the TORONTO Maple Leafs (our hometown team and the team we both root for)
- it was going to be held at the University of Michigan Stadium, also known as The Big House. Why? Because it has an "official capacity of 109,901". Yeah, that's A LOT of people.

So, heading into the close of 2013, there I was, wrapped up in my (new) Canada Good jacket, (new) Baffin winter boots, with about 12 hand warmers hidden in various pockets all over my body, two pairs of socks, thick gloves, warm hat and a prayer to the hockey gods that the game wouldn't be delayed.

If you've ever seen the Molson Canadian would have been as disappointed as we all were when none of our Canadian passports opened up this beer fridge!
By the end of it all, we had been outside for NINE HOURS. Yes, outside. And how was the weather, you ask? The official temperature was -15 degrees Celcius (that's 5 degrees Fahrenheit for my American friends) and it snowed the entire day. I think it had called for 25 cm of snow before the day was done.

I was frozen to the core. We had paid $60 to park ONE CAR. I ended up with about three large bruises on my shins (those bleachers were slippery), but you know what? It was totally worth it. A once-in-a-lifetime experience, as they say.

Again, according to Wikipedia: "The 2014 Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs set several records. The crowd of 105,491 is the largest to ever to see a hockey game…and the 8.2 million television viewers in the US (NBC) and Canada (CBC) is a North American record for a regular season game. Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston said, “The feeling when the players walked into the 87-year-old stadium in front of more than 100,000 fans was truly something special. The biggest and best Winter Classic of them all lived up to its advanced billing.”

Oh, and the cherry on top? The Leafs beat the Red Wings in an overtime shootout 3-2. I don't think any hockey game can get more perfect than that!

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