For those of you who are old enough to remember Countdown and Molly Meldrum, “Do yourself a favour….. Go see an NHL Ice Hockey game”.

Aussies are well know sport fans of all sorts so witnessing an NHL Ice Hockey game is a must do when visiting Canada. When I first arrived in Canada it took me about 5 minutes to get addicted to Ice Hockey. For starters it’s a fast and furious game that is played psychically and believe it or not, there are some rules. It is one of the last games where it is perfectly okay to stand toe to toe with your opponent and go the biff. It’s called “dropping the gloves” and the players try to knock the stuffing out of each other until one falls to the ice or the ref’s get tired of it and step in and stop the fight. (The old saying goes… “Last night I went to a fight and half way through an ice hockey game broke out”.) It’s hardly a surprise when you think about it. You get a bunch of blokes who are all at least 6′ plus tall and put them on ice skates and pad them up and give them sticks.

Although fighting is part of the game, I don’t want to dwell on it too much as there is so much more to Ice hockey than fighting. It is a great arena spectacle from the pre game ceremonies to the singing of the national anthems and eventual puck drop.

The game is an amazing spectacle at the NHL level and the players speed and skills on the ice are quite breathtaking. Sometimes you can see the value in their multi million dollar salaries.

Unlike in the AFL – Aussie Rules or NRL – Rugby where the teams come from different suburbs and the fans are loyal to the area they grew up in, in the NHL there is only one team per city, so the whole city pretty much barracks for the same team. Even the busses will carry the team chant on the digital route signs. This creates an amazing atmosphere at the games as the home crowd all come together to cheer on their team on. The down side to this is if the home team loses, then it’s like their dog’s just died. It’s a very solemn walk out at the end of the game.

You can purchase jerseys at the game which will set you back about $150.00 but if you find someone with a Costco membership you can pick one up for around $25.00.

Hockey tickets vary from province to province but be prepared to spend around a $100 for a ticket and about another $100 for food and drinks, but it is well worth it for the experience.

Canadian Ice Hockey Teams

Vancouver Canucks
Calgary Flames
Edmonton Oilers
Winepeg Jets
Ottawa Senators
Toronto Mapleleafs

Trust me, win or lose, you’ll have a great time.