26 October 2017

Squire Report, Vol 3: History!

So much to talk about, so let's get right to it - the inaugural regular season has begun!!


Yes, the 31st National Hockey League team played its first game in Dallas on Friday, October 7.  It was a hard-fought, up-tempo contest that saw Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury turn in a dazzling performance, stopping 45 of 46 Dallas Stars shots to earn 1st Star of the Game.  Just when it seemed bleak in the 3rd period, the Knights found another hero in winger James Neal, who scored twice in the final 10 minutes to help carry Vegas to an improbable 2-1 win.  After all of the months of planning, it was amazing to see the team actually take the ice and come out of a very hostile environment with a tough road victory.  

To make matters even better, the Knights carried this momentum into Arizona the very next day - it was a tight-checking game and Vegas trailed 1-0 going into the late stages, before Nate Schmidt tied the game just after Fleury was pulled for an extra attacker with a little over a minute to play.  Building on his heroics from the opening game, James Neal would bury the OT winner and send the Coyotes fans home unhappy on the wrong end of a 2-1 defeat.  

Two wins in two road games.  Now it was time to head home, to face an adoring crowd in need of healing...


When I booked my flight and hotel room earlier this summer to see the first home game in Vegas Golden Knights history, there was no way I could imagine that I would be on hand for one of the most dramatic games one could possibly witness.  After the tragic events that rocked the city just nine days earlier, Las Vegas was now ready to throw all of their emotional support into their new hockey team, and the Knights pulled out all of the stops.

20 October 2017

Hockey Road Trip: All Up In Alberta

The Great White North.

It’s always been there, hovering above my home country like an angel looking down upon us - yet it seemed so distant for so many years. I knew I’d have to visit when I started these hockey trips, but it didn’t really sink in until I finally got my passport in 2013.

Now it was time to finally set foot in Canada.

Seven NHL cities to choose from: there was no priority placed on any of them, except one. The city of Edmonton had already announced that they were building a new home for the Oilers, which would open in the fall of 2016 and replace the historic confines of Rexall Place. I knew this had to be my first stop, as the arena's penultimate season was drawing to a close.

My travel companion Chad had just started a new job and wouldn’t be able to take any days off from work, which meant we had to see a weekend game. Of course this wasn’t a problem for me, as it would coincide with an opportunity for us to see a Hockey Night in Canada game on Saturday night, which I had always longed to do and specifically scheduled when planning this initial visit north.  Even better - the Oilers would be playing their provincial rivals, the Calgary Flames!

Since I had accumulated several vacation days and really needed the time away from work, I decided to go up a few days earlier, with the intent of traversing Alberta and seeing some WHL playoff games in person. I booked my flights, grabbed my passport and off I went!

09 October 2017

One Memorable Night: Hockey Under the Stars

Isn’t it nice to spend time outdoors? Feeling the crisp air brushing across your skin, smelling the pleasant aromas in the surrounding atmosphere, and - for allergy sufferers like me - having your eyes water and nose run uncontrollably (PS. I’m getting allergy shots now to combat this). Back in 2008, the NHL decided to stage a game outdoors in a football stadium, and for a league that was struggling to gain viewership it was a resounding success. Thus, the Winter Classic was born, to be held every year on New Years Day.

But you can never have enough of a good thing, right? So in 2014, the NHL announced they would add another set of outdoor games, dubbed the Stadium Series, which would allow additional teams (especially those that weren’t big enough TV draws for the Winter Classic) to experience the phenomenon. The inaugural Stadium Series game would be held at historic Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, featuring the Kings squaring off against their rivals from down Interstate 5, the Anaheim Ducks. It was quite the spectacle, including a beach volleyball court set up near the hockey rink, and a pre-game concert from KISS.

As much as I would have enjoyed seeing this, I was actually up the coast in San Jose, to see my first Sharks game. So when the NHL announced the following season that the Stadium Series would be returning to California, I knew I had to go. Even better, this game would be played at a football stadium - Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara - which offers much better sightlines for outdoor hockey than a baseball stadium. The San Jose Sharks were hosting the Kings, so I convinced my travel companion Chad to join me on this journey, as we booked our flights and hotel room and headed north.

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