March 19, 2015
I lost my travel companion today. My wife (Michele), who joined me for the first six days of my travels, returned home to Edmonton today, while I made my way to Florida. I will definitely miss her company, and her help with photography and social media, etc.
When landing in Miami, I knew it would be very warm (and it was at 90º F / 32º C, which seems to contrast with the idea of going to see a hockey game.
Going to the game (and with the warm temperatures), I expected to see a lot of fans in shorts and summer clothing, but this wasn’t the case. In past years, the southern arenas kept their arena temperatures close to room temperature, but not any more, and for the sake of good ice.
This is the first rink visit where I didn’t pre-purchase a ticket, and primarily because of the low attendance numbers at the BB&T Center this season. (As you can see by the above photo, they curtain off the upper end seats, so fans do not see too many empty seats.)
It was easy to select a seat for the game, but the line-up was about 40-50 people deep, so it took some time to get my ticket. (As an aside, this is the first game where I drove to the game. There is lots of surface parking around the building, and if you don’t mind walking five minutes, parking is free.)
As the game started, there were more chants of “Go Wings Go,” and the Red Wings jerseys in the stands outnumbered the Panthers jerseys. Notwithstanding the fan support, the Wings lost 3-1, with Roberto Luongo stealing the show in net (with help from two posts), and Jaromir Jagr having a special night on the ice. Jagr scored one goal and added an assist, but it was his goal which was special, his 718th in his NHL career, passing Phil Esposito to take over 5th place on the all-time goals list.
As for the ambience in the arena, it’s a very comfortable laid back crowd, especially in comparison to the crowd at Madison Square Garden, where I was last night. A couple of Panthers fans chatted with me about my trip, and insisted on buying me beer at the game. I ordered a “Blue Moon” (served in a plastic cup), which is a Belgian-style beer, served with a slice of orange. Price: $14.00! I also had my second hot dog of my trip, and while I liked the dog served in Pittsburgh, the hot dog served at the BB&T Center was very tasty!
That’s it for tonight’s report! I’m looking forward to tomorrow night’s game in Tampa Bay, where I will be the “Social Captain,” for this game. It should be a lot of fun!
P.S. I should identify the “superhero” depicted in one of the above crowd photos. That’s Captain Panther, and when Florida scores, he stands up, swings his cape, and this pumps up the crowd.