The Quest


It's pretty simple, really: I've compiled a list of all of the hockey games that I've attended, including my ongoing "quest" to see a game in each of the 31 NHL markets.

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE (24 of 31 Current Arenas)

ST. LOUIS BLUES (Scottrade Center)

My original "hometown team".  Over the course of two decades, I've seen the Blues in action more than a dozen times.  Highlights include:

Blues vs. Colorado Avalanche, 15 February 1997
 - Met several of the Colorado players before the game, including Claude Lemieux and (future Blue) Scott Young.

Blues vs. Detroit Red Wings, 22 April 1997 (Game 4 - WCQF)
 - A 4-0 playoff win over a hated rival: still the greatest game I've seen in-person.

Blues vs. Minnesota Wild, 26 March 2002
 - 0-0 game in the 3rd, until the Wild score on a penalty shot.  Blues pull the goalie, and the Wild score an empty-netter.  Blues keep the goalie pulled and add a late goal to lose 2-1.  Very bizarre, very boring.

Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks, 25 April 2002 (Game 5 - WCQF)
 - Blues wrap up the series 4-games-to-1, and I get to see my first and only playoff "handshake line".

Blues vs. Calgary Flames, 29 November 2002
 - My favorite all-time member of the Blues, the late Pavol Demitra, scores a hat-trick.

Blues vs. New York Islanders, 21 November 2009
 - Got to see this beauty, probably the best goal I've seen in-person:


CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (United Center)

Blackhawks vs. New Jersey Devils, 16 April 1998
 - A Devils team at the height of their "neutral-zone trap" era against a Blackhawks team that had been eliminated from playoff contention the night before.  The result: one of the most boring games I've paid to see, ending in a 1-1 tie (remember those?).  During the 2nd intermission, the Jumbotron cut to a shot of Billy Corgan in the crowd, so I spend most of the 3rd period and OT trying to find where he was sitting.

Blackhawks vs. St. Louis Blues, 28 March 1999
 - Tony Amonte scores a hat-trick in a Hawks victory, which made it easier for me to escape from "enemy territory" while wearing my Blues jersey.  Added bonus: after this afternoon game, I drove across town to see a Chicago Wolves game later that night.

ANAHEIM DUCKS (Honda Center)

One of two local NHL teams - I've been to a handful of Ducks games, with these being the most memorable:

Ducks vs. St. Louis Blues, 17 October 2009
 - The Angels were playing the Yankees in the ALCS at the same time, so most of the TV's in the luxury suites were tuned to that game.  When the hockey game ended, people crowded around any TV they could find in the concourse to watch the conclusion of the baseball game.

Ducks vs. Edmonton Oilers, 15 December 2013
 - Got to see Teemu Selanne in his final season, and he wound up scoring a goal.

Ducks vs. Dallas Stars, 1 February 2014
 - Game 2 of my "2 NHL Games in 1 Day" adventure.

Ducks vs. Dallas Stars, 18 April 2014 (Game 2 - WCQF)
 - My first California playoff game was a memorable one, featuring the most energetic crowd I've ever seen at The Pond.  A rousing win for the home team was the perfect end result.


Ducks vs. Calgary Flames, 3 May 2015 (Game 2 - WCSF)
 - Another exciting crowd for a Ducks playoff game, which saw the home team victorious in a 3-0 shutout (although, if not for the heroics of Flames goalie Karri Ramo, the final score would have been much more lopsided).

LOS ANGELES KINGS (Staples Center)

The team I've seen in person more than any other - mostly due to my close proximity to the arena, and my propensity for receiving free tickets from friends and business associates.  Some of my favorite nights downtown were:

Kings vs. San Jose Sharks, 31 March 2004
 - Unemployed, I decide to go to my first game after moving to Los Angeles, as there is a "career fair" being held outside before the game (of course, no real job leads resulted).  Luc Robitaille was also honored in a pre-game ceremony - for what, I cannot recall.

Kings vs. Washington Capitals, 14 December 2005
 - Alex Ovechkin's rookie season, and I can vividly remember him skating circles around the Los Angeles defenders.

Kings vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, 1 November 2006
 - Evgeni Malkin's second goal of the game was the OT winner.

Kings vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, 1 February 2012
 - Yes, the infamous "clock malfunction game"!

Kings vs. St. Louis Blues, 22 March 2012
 - Brian Elliott and Jonathan Quick stand on their heads, as neither netminder allows a goal in regulation or OT, and the Kings win in the shootout.

Kings vs. New York Rangers, 7 October 2013 
- My first home opener.

Kings vs. Edmonton Oilers, 27 October 2013
- Jay Wells "bobble fist" Legends Night.

Kings vs. St. Louis Blues, 2 December 2013
 - My first Blues-Kings game at Staples Center since the bitter back-to-back playoff defeats in 2012 and 2013.  Unfortunately for myself and the other Blues fans in attendance, the Blues lost once again.

Kings vs. Philadelphia Flyers, 1 February 2014
 - Game 1 of my "2 NHL Games in 1 Day" adventure.

Kings vs. Florida Panthers, 18 November 2014 
- A ho-hum 5-2 victory for the Kings, but notable for the fact that Panthers forward (and southern California native) Rocco Grimaldi was playing for the first time in his home state after having played in an AHL game that morning!

Kings vs. St. Louis Blues, 18 December 2014
 - Another Blues-Kings game at Staples Center, another unhappy trip home.  This time was even worse, as St. Louis blew a 3-0 lead and lost 6-4.  But I did get to see Martin Brodeur in net one more time, two weeks before his final NHL game.

Kings vs. Edmonton Oilers, 25 February 2016
- I had to see Connor McDavid during his rookie season, and he was just as impressive as I had hoped.

Kings vs. Montreal Canadiens, 3 March 2016
- My first time seeing my favorite NHL player, P.K. Subban - and he did NOT disappoint:


Kings vs. Edmonton Oilers, 17 November 2016
- I had to see Connor McDavid again.  This might be a theme...

Kings vs. Edmonton Oilers, 4 April 2017
- Less than 24 hours after returning from Alberta, I see McDavid and his Oiler teammates once again.

ARIZONA COYOTES (Talking Stick Resort Arena) 

Coyotes vs. St. Louis Blues, 24 February 2008

Coyotes vs. Atlanta Thrashers(!), 19 February 2009
 - Wild game, with Ilya Kovalchuk tying the game in the final minute after the Thrashers pulled their goalie.  No scoring in OT resulted in an 8-round shootout, with the Coyotes ultimately prevailing on a goal by Daniel Carcillo!?!

Coyotes vs. Minnesota Wild, 10 December 2011
 - Wild game, in that it was a game against the Wild (otherwise, it was a pretty boring 4-1 win for the visitors from Minnesota).  Making matters worse, since the game was played during the height of the Coyotes ownership debacle / relocation rumors, an announced crowd of less than 11,000 people showed up on a Saturday night to see a Wild team that had the best record in the NHL at the time.

Coyotes vs. San Jose Sharks, 12 April 2014
 - Another trip to the Valley of the Sun, which found our group sitting a mere FOUR rows from the glass: the closest I've ever been seated for a game.

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (Nationwide Arena)

Blue Jackets vs. St. Louis Blues, 27 November 2011

Blue Jackets vs. Philadelphia Flyers, 21 December 2013
 - Part 1 of my road trip into "Big Ten Country": amidst a passionate crowd of visiting Flyers fans, I get to see a very exciting win for the home team.

Blue Jackets vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, 27 November 2015
- The finale of the Rust Belt Roundabout, and another opportunity to see a game at what is quickly becoming one of my favorite venues.

How can you NOT love the Goal Cannon?!

COLORADO AVALANCHE (Pepsi Center)

Avalanche vs. Florida Panthers, 16 November 2013
 - Not the most exciting game, as the Avs lost 4-1 to the visiting Panthers, but it was a memorable road trip into a very pleasant city.

SAN JOSE SHARKS (SAP Center)

Sharks vs. Minnesota Wild, 25 January 2014
 - At the exact same time that hockey fans in southern California were enjoying the outdoor game between the Kings and Ducks, I was up the coast experiencing the great atmosphere inside "The Shark Tank".

Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings, 21 February 2015 (game played at Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara)
- I finally get to experience an outdoor hockey game, as the Stadium Series returns to California for the second consecutive season.

Sharks vs. Arizona Coyotes, 13 February 2016
- After seeing an AHL game during the afternoon, I return to SAP Center for an evening contest during the Sharks' 25th Anniversary Season.

NEW JERSEY DEVILS (Prudential Center)

Devils vs. New York Rangers, 22 March 2014
 - Part 1 of the "Big Apple Trifecta": a raucous crowd of rival fans made for an incredible setting, as two 1990 draftees stole the show.

NEW YORK RANGERS (Madison Square Garden)

Rangers vs. Phoenix Coyotes, 24 March 2014
 - Part 3 of the "Big Apple Trifecta": an overtime thriller from "The World's Most Famous Arena".

DALLAS STARS (American Airlines Center)

Stars vs. St. Louis Blues, 28 October 2014
 - The final stop of my great Southern Sports Adventure, in which Vladimir Tarasenko completed his hat-trick with an OT winner.

FLORIDA PANTHERS (BB&T Center)

Panthers vs. Minnesota Wild, 24 November 2014
- A paltry home crowd.  A humid winter night.  First NHL game of my Sunshine State Safari.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (Amelie Arena)

Lightning vs. New York Rangers, 26 November 2014
- The Sunshine State Safari concludes with a memorable game on Thanksgiving Eve, as Martin St. Louis makes his first trip back to Tampa in a visiting uniform.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS (Rogers Arena)

Canucks vs. St. Louis Blues, 16 October 2015
- Forty-eight hours after seeing Madonna in concert, my Vancouver trip continues with a return to Rogers Arena to see their "anchor tenant".

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (PPG Paints Arena)

Penguins vs. St. Louis Blues, 25 November 2015
- The first NHL game of my Rust Belt Roundabout is also my first time to see 3-on-3 overtime.

NASHVILLE PREDATORS (Bridgestone Arena)

Predators vs. Minnesota Wild, 19 December 2015
- A quick trip to the South wraps up with a raucous game on a frigid night.

OTTAWA SENATORS (Canadian Tire Centre)

Senators vs. Montreal Canadiens, 19 March 2016
- The Empire State Excursion extends across the border for a classic rivalry on Hockey Night in Canada.

MONTREAL CANADIENS (Bell Centre)

Canadiens vs. Calgary Flames, 20 March 2016
- A second all-Canadian matchup in as many days, as the Empire State Excursion rolls along.

BUFFALO SABRES (First Niagara Center)

Sabres vs. Winnipeg Jets, 26 March 2016
- The Empire State Excursion comes to an exhausting end, with a Saturday matinee affair on the banks of Lake Erie.

CAROLINA HURRICANES (PNC Arena)

Hurricanes vs. Washington Capitals, 12 November 2016
- I took a journey down Tobacco Road, and experienced a very hospitable crowd (and AMAZING food!).

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS (Wells Fargo Arena)

Flyers vs. New York Islanders, 9 February 2017
- I made my first trip to the City of Brotherly Love, only to endure one of the most hostile crowds I've ever encountered...

NEW YORK ISLANDERS (Barclays Center)

Islanders vs. Colorado Avalanche, 12 February 2017
- At the conclusion of my Philly trip, I make a quick visit to New York City for a wonderful Sunday: a matinee show on Broadway, followed by a visit to the new home of the Islanders.

EDMONTON OILERS (Rogers Place)

Oilers vs. Anaheim Ducks, 1 April 2017
- The first game of my "Alberta Engagement" gives me a chance to introduce my new fiancee to the magic of Hockey Night in Canada!

CALGARY FLAMES (Scotiabank Saddledome) 

Flames vs. Anaheim Ducks, 2 April 2017
- Game 2 of the "Alberta Engagement" sees us follow the Ducks down Highway 2, and gives me a chance to meet one of the NHL's best mascots.

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS (T-Mobile Arena) [planned]

Golden Knights vs. Arizona Coyotes, 10 October 2017
- (description coming soon)

WINNIPEG JETS (Bell MTS Place) [planned]

Jets vs. Montreal Canadiens, 4 November 2017
(description coming soon)

DETROIT RED WINGS (Little Caesars Arena) [planned]

Red Wings vs. Nashville Predators, 20 February 2018
(description coming soon)

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (Air Canada Centre) [planned]

Maple Leafs vs. Winnipeg Jets, 31 March 2018
(description coming soon)



DEFUNCT NHL ARENAS

ST. LOUIS ARENA (home of the St. Louis Blues, 1967-1994)

Blues vs. Washington Capitals, 10 February 1994
 - My first NHL game, at the age of 17.  During the pre-game skate, I walked down near the glass to see the players come out on the ice.  Even though he was a bit shorter than me, I could not get over how imposing Al Iafrate was on his skates.

Blues vs. Los Angeles Kings, 7 April 1994
 - Wayne Gretzky broke Gordie Howe's all-time goal-scoring record two weeks before this game, so Peter Stastny and Brett Hull gave The Great One a plaque at center ice before the game.

JOE LOUIS ARENA (home of the Detroit Red Wings, 1979-2017)

Red Wings vs. New York Islanders, 23 December 2013
 - Part 2 of my road trip into "Big Ten Country": a 3-0 win by the Islanders made for a very listless crowd.

NASSAU COLISEUM (home of the New York Islanders, 1972-2015)

Islanders vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, 23 March 2014
 - Part 2 of the "Big Apple Trifecta": a sparsely-attended matinee at the venerable arena, featuring a second 2-0 shutout in as many days.

REXALL PLACE (home of the Edmonton Oilers, 1974-2016)

Edmonton Oil Kings vs. Brandon Wheat Kings, 1 April 2015
- The WHL playoffs were underway on the day I arrived in Edmonton for my Alberta trip, so I got to see my first Canadian junior hockey game.

Oilers vs. Calgary Flames, 4 April 2015
- The Battle of Alberta serves as the backdrop for my first Hockey Night in Canada game: a fun contest that concluded a pleasant trip to the western province.

COLISEE PEPSI (home of the Quebec Nordiques, 1972-1995)

Mastercard Memorial Cup, 24-26 May 2015
- Just before the legendary arena closed its doors after a storied 65-year existence, I got to spend a wonderful weekend watching the championship tournament of the Canadian Hockey League.

PACIFIC COLISEUM (home of the Vancouver Canucks, 1970-1995)

Vancouver Giants vs. Red Deer Rebels, 17 October 2015
- The day after seeing their new arena, I visit the Canucks' previous home for a WHL matchup.

TD PLACE ARENA (home of the Ottawa Senators, 1992-1995)

Ottawa 67's vs. Hamilton Bulldogs, 18 March 2016
- I make the long drive from Buffalo to Ottawa, arriving just in time to take in an OHL Friday Night game at the original home of the Senators.

MONTREAL FORUM (home of the Montreal Canadiens, 1926-1996)

In-person visit, 21 March 2016
- On my final day in the city, I peruse the historic surroundings of one of the most famous arenas in hockey history.  It now serves as a shopping center.

AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE

SAN DIEGO GULLS (Valley View Casino Center)

Gulls vs. Grand Rapids Griffins, 10 October 2015
- A sold-out contest serves as my first AHL game, which is also the first for the newest iteration of the Gulls' franchise.

BAKERSFIELD CONDORS (Rabobank Arena)

Condors vs. Ontario Reign, 14 November 2015
- The Condors and Reign take their rivalry from the ECHL to the AHL, as the league successfully expands to California.

ONTARIO REIGN (Citizens Business Bank Arena)

Reign vs. San Jose Barracuda, 6 February 2016
- The Reign make the transition to the AHL, and I get to meet team GM (and Hockey Hall of Famer) Rob Blake!

Reign vs. San Diego Gulls, 8 May 2016
- The southern California rivalry extends into the Calder Cup Playoffs, with a very spirited contest from the Pacific Division Final.

SAN JOSE BARRACUDA (SAP Center)

Barracuda vs. San Antonio Rampage, 13 February 2016
- There was no one there (hardly), but it was fun to see the first of two professional games from the same arena on the same day.

STOCKTON HEAT (Stockton Arena)

Heat vs. San Antonio Rampage, 14 February 2016
- Of course I spent Valentine's Day watching the sport I love.

ALBANY DEVILS (Times Union Center)

Devils vs. Springfield Falcons, 22 March 2016

UTICA COMETS (Utica Memorial Auditorium)

Comets vs. Syracuse Crunch, 23 March 2016
- A sold-out crowd packs the tiny Auditorium for a Wednesday night intrastate clash - minor league hockey at its finest!

ROCHESTER AMERICANS (Blue Cross Arena)

Americans vs. St. John's IceCaps, 25 March 2016
I get to see an IceCaps team featuring John Scott in one of his last professional hockey games, two months after he captivated the hockey world at the NHL All-Star Game.

ECHL (formerly East Coast Hockey League)

ONTARIO REIGN (Citizens Business Bank Arena)

Reign vs. Alaska Aces, 1 December 2012
- The NHL lockout was underway, so I ventured out into the Inland Empire to see the only professional hockey team in southern California - and the Stanley Cup was on display since the Kings were the reigning champ!

Reign vs. Utah Grizzlies, 15 March 2015
- The Ides of March also happens to be "Star Wars Day" for this matinee affair.

FLORIDA EVERBLADES (Germain Arena)

Everblades vs. Gwinnett Gladiators, 21 November 2014

WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE

EDMONTON OIL KINGS (Rexall Place)

Oil Kings vs. Brandon Wheat Kings, 1 April 2015

RED DEER REBELS (ENMAX Centrium)

Rebels vs. Medicine Hat Tigers, 2 April 2015
- My second WHL playoff game in as many days brings me south to Red Deer for a hard-fought matchup between two Alberta teams.

VANCOUVER GIANTS (Pacific Coliseum)

Giants vs. Red Deer Rebels, 17 October 2015

ONTARIO HOCKEY LEAGUE

OTTAWA 67's (TD Place Arena)

67's vs. Hamilton Bulldogs, 18 March 2016

NIAGARA ICEDOGS (Meridian Centre)

IceDogs vs. Ottawa 67's, 24 March 2016
- Following an afternoon at Niagara Falls, I cross the border into Canada for an action-packed OHL playoff game from a beautiful arena.

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