Tampa, FL: Amalie Arena, April 1st 2017 (11 of 31)

Destination: Sun

Our plane left Montreal early in the morning, leaving behind the sleet and snow that had fallen all night. With the regular NHL season rapidly coming to an end, and the playoffs looming, we were definitely ready for spring weather. We touched ground in Charlotte, North Carolina’s largest city, and already the scenery was looking better. A short connecting flight took us to Florida, where upon exiting the plane in Tampa, the heat hit us briefly, chased by the intense cold of the air conditioning inside the terminal. A few minutes later, the sun welcomed us to what is summer weather for Canadians. This day was already off to a good start. Continue reading

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Raleigh, NC: PNC Arena, April 7th 2016 (9 of 30)

Planning

Sometimes things do not turn out the way you intended. I booked this trip back in October, while the Habs were ruling the NHL. For this next to last regular season game, I had visions of momentum for the playoffs, or maybe even a fight for a spot in the post season dance. But that’s not how things would play out.

The Habs lost star goaltender Carey Price early on to a knee injury, and the wheels came off the cart quickly after that, with the team’s deficiencies suddenly exposed. Even before injuries started piling up (the line up that hit the ice for this game was mostly made up of players who started the season in the AHL), the team struggled with offense, and for a while seemed unable to catch a break. On the Hurricanes side, while a few points ahead of the Habs in the standings, they were also out of contention, having liquidated a few veterans at the trade deadline.

So this game was, in all essence, meaningless. Or was it? During the week leading to the game, there was a lot of chatter that the Carolina Hurricanes would be relocated to Quebec City during the summer. If that came to pass, we would have attended the last NHL game in Raleigh. As I write this, no further rumours have come out and Canes owner Peter Karmanos strongly denied the rumours. We’ll see I guess.

I always say that the game is just an excuse for a trip, an opportunity to visit a city I would not have gone to otherwise. This trip would serve as the perfect example. Continue reading