Given the title and above picture, it's pretty obvious that my latest journey took me to the Great White North. Even though this time of year it was the Moderately Dreary North. This trip took me to the great city of Toronto for a Maple Leafs game, plus the Hockey Hall of Fame.
There's the cup, shiny...
Ya gotta respect the whale
Even as a kid, I thought Eddie Belfour's helmet looked BA, and now it's in the Hall.
Ok, I promised myself I would limit the amount of pictures I had of the Hall, because it would get a little monotonous. Still, I had a wonderful time at the Hall, even if it was a little crowded (the Blackhawks management was presenting the Hall with a ring from the Cup winning team last year that day, and I saw, but all the pics were fuzzy because I had to use my iPod instead of my camera).
What I really have to discuss is the game between the Maple Leafs and the Hawks at the Air Canada Centre (it's Canada, so they do the whole "re" thing). Now, I like the place, and, as opposed to the other places I've been to, it's clear that hockey is the main draw here.
Hence this while I was waiting for a ticket.
Now, I'm sure that was meant to be the paint of a basketball court (the arena is home to the Raptors of the NBA as well) but it seems like a messed up crease to me.
Now, one thing I really didn't like about the seating was the lack of adequate legroom in the 300 section. It was really terrible, to be honest. Especially because I happen to be 6'2". Still, it's a problem, and the seating down below didn't look that much better from my perspective.
For reference, the seating where I was, again, this was taken well before the game
The place was, as usually, packed, and there were a lot of red sweaters out in force during the game. The game was great, and even though the Leafs didn't score until the game was pretty much in hand (it was 3-0 after the first period), nobody left. Which leads me to my next interesting anecdote. While the Hall of Fame obviously has a plethora of jerseys from all across the NHL, the ease of finding jerseys outside of the Hall in Toronto was astounding.
Yes, that's a Blackhawks jersey, and two Team Canada ones
This picture was taken at a Canadian Tire store, which is similar to a Farm and Fleet in the US (at least in the Midwest, I don't know about outside it). The majority of their clothing selection was in this hockey section (whereas in most US stores, hockey is lucky to be in a store at all, in Canada it has an entire section). Now, aside from the usual Maple Leafs jerseys (it was Toronto, after all) and practice blank jerseys, not only did they have a selection of Team Canada jerseys, but a couple Canadiens jerseys, a relatively old (CCM) Avs jersey (which I did end up getting), and, to the biggest surprise I had, an Edmonton Oilers third jersey from the very brief "oil drip" phase.
This, for those of you uninformed
Of course, the sports store had a fantastic selection of all sorts of jerseys (all of the ones from the last Winter Classic and Heritage Classic, plus a smattering of others).
In contrast, at Sports Authority in Chicago, you'll find, if you're lucky, a blank Capitals jersey (presumably the same one has been there for months and just hasn't been bought). At Wal-Mart/Target/K-Mart/whatever, you'll find a Blackhawks practice jersey.
That there shows the difference between the US and Canada on the prominence of hockey. At Canadian Tire, I did not see a single Raptors jersey.
So, to conclude, because this is getting rambly, Canada is awesome, the women are gorgeous, the place is friendly and hockey mad, yet the seats are not made for tall people.