Winnipeg, MB Game day started off on a delicious note, as I was surprised to get a side order of Florida Panthers with my breakfast. Truthfully, I had suspected something was up. The night before I had come back to my hotel room after a nice, long swim, and could see unmistakable autograph hounds lurking on the street below my window. When you’ve been doing road trips as long as I have, you tend to become an expert in the footprints left behind by NHL teams. Anyway, that morning I decided to create my own hockey player body part appreciation society for all the players, who have shared their assets with me over the most important meal of the day. Naturally, Marc Methot’s ass was the inaugural Breakfast Club inductee, but I’m pleased to announce that Tomas Fleischmann’s arms will be joining him this season. Oh, yes! I may have been talking to the waiter, but my peripheral was extremely appreciative of the show.
Unfortunately, my Winnipeg hotel experience wasn’t all spicy males and muscles. I hadn’t even been in Winnipeg for an hour before I had to resort to being a super cunt. But I suppose someone had to be a bitch on this trip, since my wish came true, and certain little bitches weren’t around to fill that role. Now, I had been up ALL night at the airport in Thunder Bay, and by the time I had boarded the flight to Winnipeg I was tired, cranky, and quite sensitive to the cold. Truthfully, the weather in Winnipeg didn’t bother me at all, I just tweeted like it did to see if people would jump down my throat the way they do whenever an NHL player complains about having road games there in the winter. Besides, I’d much rather see the Panthers play in Winnipeg, than subject myself to premature aging (like some unfortunate people) in that Florida sun.
Anyway, I knew that arriving at 6:04 AM local time was not going to be good for trying to check in early. I pretty much knew that it would take a miracle to get a room so far in advance of check in time, and I was mentally preparing myself for that outcome in the cab on the way there. However, when I arrived at the hotel two other people were checking in. I was essentially ignored for a long time before being helped, but not before the manager told her subordinate to take someone else’s reservation away and bump them back, so this bald asshole off the street, who clearly hadn’t been traveling for 14 hours, could get a room. Naturally, as soon as it was my turn, they suddenly didn’t have any rooms, and I was suddenly not so friendly or reasonable. I mean, I just witnessed them moving rooms around, so now I was fighting on principle. If no one had been at the hotel when I attempted to check in, I probably would have just walked away.
They ended up giving me two choices: I could leave my bag at the front desk and wander around at 6AM in -25 degree weather, or I could pay them for an extra day for one of their smoking rooms. Really, do we still have smoking rooms in Canada? Now, I was pretty desperate, and under normal circumstances I probably would have paid, but given the situation, I chose to take it up a notch to diva-esque cuntery. I can’t very well have a smoking room as it would trigger my migraines *grins.* Besides, they are usually gross. I told them that I would have no problem waiting in the lobby until my room is ready. Given the state of me after not sleeping for 28 hours, and the fact that I was clearly fuming, a non-smoking room was magically available 10 minutes later at no extra cost. Funny how that works.
Apart from that initial hiccup at the hotel, everyone I met in Winnipeg was really nice and friendly. Especially all the season ticket holders in my section at MTS Centre. Apparently, the ticket I bought for the game is the ONLY available ticket in the entire section. It was just a fluke that it happened to be the first section I clicked on the SECOND tickets went on sale to the public. I was waiting like a spider all morning that day! Don’t get me started on that again, but I will say that I understand that the Jets are trying to control ticket sales to make it “fair” for everyone. However, the lottery pre-sale thing is total crap. WHO HAS A PRE-SALE FOR FIVE DAYS?! Seriously, FIVE DAYS! Most organizations do pre-sales for ONE day or a couple HOURS, they don’t give a select few people the advantage for FIVE DAYS.
I was not at all confident that I would even get a ticket to this Jets game or any game, and that I may never get MTS Centre checked off my list. Everything that could be done was being done to get that ticket. I had called hotels looking for leads on tickets. I practically lived on Kijiji. Even Jonathan Huberdeau and Bryan Little were pitched on my behalf, although they didn’t know it at the time. Initially, I had contacted the Jets and explained the situation, and asked them what my options were. I wanted to know what the likelihood was that I would actually get a ticket to the game. Did they release a block of tickets day of game? Or were there other back up plans that would ensure that, if I did make the trip, I would actually be going to the game. They chose to just IGNORE my inquiries. So, given these fails in the sales department (not to mention the fact that they really fucked up by over selling season seats, so that the average Joe has limited opportunities to support the Jets), I give the Jets Front Office a big, fat F (for failure and fuckery), which is shocking considering the fans are probably the best in the League.
When you arrive at MTS Centre the air is more electric than it is anywhere else in the League that I’ve been (don’t get offended Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton). Perhaps it was the fact that my problems with getting a ticket, a hotel room, and even getting to Winnipeg made me feel like I really earned my seat that night, and as a result everything about the game, the rink, and the fans seemed all the more amazing. Maybe, if I didn’t have to work as hard for it, I wouldn’t have been as impressed. I will say, though, Winnipeg puts Chicago to shame in the national anthem department, and the fans are the loudest by far in the League. The fact that MTS Centre only seats 15,004 people makes this feat all the more incredible.
Winnipeg puts on a great show, and I can’t recall the last time I enjoyed a hockey game as much as the one I saw last night. I savoured every second of the game. It was hard for me to pull myself away from my seat during the intermission because I didn’t want to risk missing even a second of the action. And words cannot describe the feeling you get in a place like that, as the home team scores the winning goal with only 15 seconds remaining in overtime. I imagine coming into a building like that is quite intimidating for the other 29 teams in the NHL. I have no doubt in my mind that, if the Jets ever win the Stanley Cup, the fans will be deserving of most of the credit.
P.S. Dear Stephen Weiss…
Get traded to Ottawa or another team within my spider’s web. YAY?
My inner 16 year old
Top Photo: Still the undefeated ticket master!