Sunday, December 02, 2007

30 NHL games, 30 consecutive nights, 30 cities

Steve Williamson, who embarked on a journey to see all 30 NHL teams in 30 nights, sheds some light in a recent interview with David Amber from ESPN.

Some noteworthy excerpts:


Q: So give us the stats. How many plane rides did you take? How many miles did you travel?

A: I just calculated that I traveled 30,530 miles, including three trips across the country. I took 35 flights total, a few train rides, used a lot of rental cars and took one bus in Vancouver from the airport to the arena.

Q: So which was the best arena?

A: The nicest physical arena was the American Airlines Arena in Dallas. I was surprised to see people dressed up for the game. It had sort of a swanky feel to it. The arena was beautiful, kind of like a hotel lobby with the way it was shaped. It was rectangular, not oval, and the sightlines were amazing.

As far as atmosphere, Montreal was the best, without a doubt. It was unbelievable. It was a Tuesday night game against a last-place team, and the fans were still really into it. Ten minutes before the game, the seats were filled and the place was loud.

Q: Which arena had the best food?

A: The United Center in Chicago had the best selection. You could get Mexican or ribs or pretty much anything you wanted. I ate a hot dog at every arena, and the best by far were in Montreal, where the bun is slit on the top and they lightly butter it. Also, in Dallas, they have something called the "knife and fork" dog, which is a hot dog smothered in chili, cheese and onions. And yes, you do have to eat it with a knife and fork. It was great. The worst food was in Edmonton, where I got food poisoning. Not sure if it was at the arena or at a restaurant, but my flight the next morning to Toronto wasn't pleasant.

Q: What was the biggest disappointment?

A: The atmospheres in some of the Canadian rinks, especially Vancouver and Calgary, were surprisingly bad. The fans seemed indifferent during the game: not a lot of cheering, not a lot of excitement. I was expecting the Canadian rinks to be the best, but it was pretty dead in those two cities.

Q: What was the best moment from the games?

A: A couple of great moments stand out. In Carolina, against the Lightning, Vincent Lecavalier scored an amazing goal. He broke through the defense, and with Bret Hedican draped on his back, he just shrugged him off and scored. It was an incredible show of strength and skill. I saw a total of 158 goals. That one and a Sam Gagner shootout goal were the two beauties I remember best.

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