The Best Game You Can Name
How amazing is this?! Hockey. IN SCOTLAND!
The Braehead Clan are the newest hockey team in the Elite "Ice hockey" League in the UK and a mere 10 minute car ride from my flat! Even better, the majority of the players are Canadian! It's like a wee bit of home, here in Glasgow.
I'm embarrassed to admit that I didn't even know that a new hockey team was launched in October; what kind of Canadian am I?! Nevertheless, I was lucky enough to get four complimentary tickets to the game this past Saturday night where the Clan took on the League Champions, the Coventry Blazes.
Bizarrely, the actual arena is in a mall - the Braehead Shopping Centre. It took us a while to figure out that the actual arena was inside the mall and not beside it.
I invited my Scottish friends, Jamie and Claire, to come along to experience their first ever hockey game. Paul has already been to a hockey game, two years ago, while we were back in Canada (Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Anaheim Ducks; the Leafs lost of course).
Everyone liked the fact that you could have a drink while watching the game.
I'm such a stereotypical Canadian, that I had to wear my Toronto Maple Leafs toque to the game. Claire is now a hockey convert - although I suspect she just approved of having a beer whilst watching butch men skate about the ice.
Our seats were right behind the Clan box. Cedric Bernier (French Canadian, obviously) is apparently the Clan's "enforcer".
It was a really exciting game - the Blazes initially had one goal and the Clan managed to tie the game in the third period with only seconds to go.
Head Coach and forward, Bruce Richardson, taking a time out to discuss strategy to the team. Is it weird for the Head Coach to also play in actual games? Or is it just me?
Anyway, the game went into an extra period (of five minutes), but even after that, it was still tied. So, the game went into a shootout. Personally, I find shootouts brutal and nerve wracking - especially after the notorious shootout in Nagano in 1998 (I can't bear to see the Great One upset).
Sadly, the Clan lost in the shootout, but it was still a great game especially considering how new a team the Clan are.
Two years ago, at the Toronto Maple Leafs game, most of the spectators were quiet and indeed, you could clearly hear the grunts and shouts of the players on the ice - it was THAT quiet. Sure, when there was a goal or the beginnings of a fight, the Canadian spectators would start to get a bit rowdy but otherwise, they would watch the game in silence. The Scottish crowd on Saturday night, however, were anything but quiet. Throughout most of the match, people (mostly women, for some strange reason), would shout, "SMAAAAAAAASH HIM!" or "COME ON, BOYS!". The odd occasion, a dude would shout at the referee and call them BY FIRST NAME!?
Clearly Clan fans mean business and are mental.
In fact, Paul and my friends got shouted at because they took to their seats three minutes into the game. As I myself am mental, I rushed ahead of Paul, Jamie and Claire to find our seats and sat down while they lingered behind. While Paul and my friends proceeded to join me in our seats, apparently some older woman - dressed as a vampire - shouted at Paul for daring to take his seat while the game was in action (you're supposed to wait until the end of the period to move about - maybe if it's a fucking NHL game: aye, maybe then, but at a dinky arena?! No offense). Paul told her to "gies peace" (Scots for "give us peace", "piss off").
I think if I had heard her, I would have told her to "Get tae; it's not as if Bobby Orr himself is out there playin'!"