Tuesday, November 02, 2010

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.

"good game; good game; good game"

Overall, it was a great night and I can't wait to go back to another game. On a different note, I have to admit - there is definitely a difference between a Canadian and Scottish crowd.

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'!"


Anonymous said...

Saw you and you're hat at the Clan game. They only want you to wait till a stoppage in play not the end of the period before taking your seat! The hat explains why you cast a dissaproving glance at my Habs Shirt:-)

But your taste in Football teams is better!!! Cool Blog

Jennifer said...

Ahhh, yes, that is what I meant -a stoppage in the game play and not the end of the period! There was even an announcement over the PA after we all took our seats saying as much! Sweet Jesus though - EVERYONE RELAX!

However, I like the Habs too and would NEVER give you stink eye about your choice in jerseys! I think I saw you and just wondered if there was another Canadian in the house!

Martin said...

Hi there, I was sitting directly in front of the 'lady' that 'disapproved' of you guys taking to your seats while the game was in play....and as much as I agree with the sentiment, yeah, it could have been said a bit more pleasantly. Also, the EIHL is not the NHL, nor is Braehead Arena(dinky?) the Air Canada Centre....but as a small nation with an even smaller base of hockey fans, you'll find we are extremely passionate about the sport and waiting for a break in play before taking to our seats is just one of those little nuances everyone has to deal with ;)

Plenty of time to relax in the SNO!Bar afterwards :D

On a lighter note, I love your blog....and this is coming from a guy who would love to move to Canada given the chance.

Martin x

P.S http://www.clanfans.net <--- Our official fansite if you haven't already found it :)

Jennifer said...


I never actually heard the woman shout at my friends but they told me about it afterwards. I had brought my Scottish friends to their first hockey game and in all honesty, I was kinda shocked that a woman (I know, I know; is that sexist?!) would shout at them for trying to find their seats during gametime. We wouldn't have been THREE MINUTES late if we knew that the arena was actually in the mall and not besides it (we parked miles away as such). Clearly we are Clan newbies.

However, in all honesty, it was MY FAULT. I was REALLY excited to see the game and I forced us all to go to our seats because I was keen to see my national sport. She probably should have yelled at me since I made a beeline for our seats and if she had, I would have probably been mortified - for her and myself (I am Canadian, after all).

That said, we all laughed when the announcement came on over the PA saying, "Remember, please wait for a break in the game to take your seats!" OMG, I felt like a spotlight was us! AGHHHH!

Nevertheless, I am SOOOO coming back but next time, I am bringing to other Scottish girlfriends of mine and I will make sure we are in our seats for 7.00pm lest we start a fucking riot!

Jennifer said...

P.S. I love that Weegies/ West of Scotland folks are so passionate about hockey; it's great. You're all mental though (in a good way).

Jessica said...

AWE freaking SOME! Hockey night in GLASGOW!?!?!?

I am jealous.

Seriously jealous.

Jennifer said...

Jessica - surely there is some sort of hockey league in Belgium?! Maybe? No? But yeah, it kinda RULES!

Anonymous said...

There will be other canadians in the building but I'm a born and bred local I'm afraid. The leafs Habs rivalry is a bit likevwe have here with our two football teams without the ugly bit. Glad to hear you'll be doing your wee bit to promote the clan, we need all the fans we can get. It's the big bad ugly panthers this week. Great blog by the way

eagleeye said...

Great blog and I'm delighted the local Canadian populace is supporting its national sport in Glasgow. As for waiting for e break in play, well, it's no great hardship, is it? I know your friends were newbies but it is, quite frankly, a pain in the arse when you are watching a game and someone who can't be bothered to wait for a break in play blocks your view. The lady in question should, perhaps, have moderated her language, after all we pride ourselves on being family friendly. Enjoy the game on Saturday - there should be a new signing to see, ex-NHLer Jordan Krestanovic. Another Canuck, surprise surprise ;)

Jennifer said...

The point is, we didn't know that we were supposed to wait until a stop in the game to take our seats. It's not that we couldn't be bothered to wait; the point is we had no idea!

eagleeye said...

Of course Jennifer, and vampire woman should have made an allowance for the newbie factor. I do, even if I do mutter a lot under my breath when someone walks in front of me. What will happen is that at tomorrow's game you will await a break in play and in next week's game you will be telling everyone else that they should wait for a break! Enjoy the game and lets hope the Clan will give those Panthers a right good doing ;)

Dylan Breek said...

Oh I am so jealous. I was living in Glasgow until June before having to move back to Canada and remember reading about the Clan. I was so disappointed they weren't going to start playing before I had to move away. I would love to watch a hockey game in Scotland.

Oh well, guess I'll just have to go back

and007 said...

Hi, i came across your blog - I read your dad was scottish, was skimming - so correct me on that please.

Anyway, what you are trying to work out is that your quality of life in Canada much surpasses that of quality in Scotland. As for the orange walks, it's really quite complicated, two different interpretations of the bible(C & P) leading to two different "fruit of the spirit" if you like, leads societies down different roads. It does matter. The Catholics want all Catholic churches, teachings and schools, this would go against all protestant teachings. There is no middle ground believe me.

However it is always refreshing to get newcomers points of views.

Jennifer said...

Hi and007

No, my Dad isn't Scottish; my grandmother is Welsh (hence, how I received my ancestry visa) and my Great-Grandfather was Glaswegian.

As for orange walks and Catholicism, I'll refrain from getting into an internet debate about any such things! Thanks for reading.