Who would have guessed that one day I would live in a city with a great history and love for sports? Only a handful of cities can even go by the name Hockeytown, and Detroit is one of the biggest!
As you all know, Scott and I took a big move up to Michigan just about six months ago. As the months pass by, there are more and more things I am beginning to love about Detroit (which is nice to counteract the ridiculously long and drawn out winter this year).
Reason number one is the sports!
Growing up in Orlando, I had the option to follow two major sports in the area: the NBA (Orlando Magic) and NHL (Orlando Solar Bears… for about five seasons). When looking at the city from the outside, Orlando would never be considered a “sports” town, but instead a town known for entertainment with Disney, Universal, and Sea World parks just around the corners.
Detroit, on the other hand, is filled with professional teams and fanatics.
With the Lions, Tigers, and Red Wings all located downtown, it seems like there is always a game to catch at almost any time of year. From late October through mid-April, you can throw the Pistons in there too, if you travel over to Auburn Hills.
I think it is safe to say this city takes an active part in the sports world!
Scott and I were excited to attend our very first Red Wings hockey game Wednesday night. With plenty of time to find parking, grab tickets, and explore the arena before game time, we walked up to the Joe Louis Arena with about an hour to spare.
I am really glad we did, because it gave me a chance to learn a little more about the team. For starters, there are a number famous hockey legends who got their start right here with the Red Wings.
Gordie “Mr. Hockey” Howe is one of them, and is known as one of the greatest hockey players of all time!
I guess that is why there is an entire entrance named after him. Pretty cool!
The second thing I noticed were two ginormous hovering purple octopi.
Although the team does not have an official mascot, an octopus named Al is the closest thing. Throwing octopi onto the ice during important Red Wings games started all the way back in 1952, and you can read about the Legend of the Octopus right on the team’s website.
When I first heard the story, I thought someone was playing a joke on me because I am known to be a tad gullible. This, my friends, is a true story!
After a lap around the arena, we went to indulge in some classic Detroit concessions.
(Vegetarians: shield your eyes.)
This was my first experience with a Coney Island hot dog, and Scott convinced me I needed to try at least one in my life… so I did. It was okay. I am a huge chili fan, but I have never really been into hot dogs. Scott, however, is borderline obsessed so I ordered one mostly to impress him. 😉
Alongside the coney, I ordered what is starting to become a Michigan sports event tradition: Tim Horton’s coffee.
Speaking of famous hockey players, Tim (inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame) is one of the ultimate legends. Before moving up here, I had not heard of him before. (<- I know, bad hockey fan.) Although he passed during a car accident at the age of forty-four, his legend lives on through the game and through his chain of restaurants.
On the way to our seats, I found one more hockey player who made me want to stop for a photo: Henrik Zetterberg, or <insert female hockey fan>’s “husband.”
He is certainly a favorite of the ladies!
We made it to our seats with about twenty minutes to go, and I was shocked that we seemed to be the only ones around our section.
Right around game time, those seats quickly filled and the place was packed with 20,000 fans!
I have been to a few NHL games before, but this was the first time I actually cared to pay attention to what was going on in the game. I read up on some of the players and asked questions to learn some basic hockey rules from Scott.
He tried hard to convince me that the three twenty-minute periods played during the game are called “poots”. I may be gullible, but that is something I did not fall for. No sir!
The game was so fun! The crowd got really into it, and it was the first time I heard people answer chants with a simple “Let’s-Go-Red-Wings!” with one fan saying it one time.
This team and arena felt very traditional compared to other ones I have been to, which is kind of cool to see. The lights didn’t go out, the music wasn’t all that loud, and the fans there were there to see hockey.
Throughout the entire game, both Scott and I marveled over the number of flags hanging. Who even wants to count?
Then, what I had secretly hoped for happened during the second period.
Out of nowhere, an octopus appeared on the ice during a time out. The crowd instantly cheered and the place went nuts! The superfan culprit ended up getting escorted out, but I am guessing by him raising his hands and dancing all the way out that he would say it was worth it. The legend lives!
poots periods, the Wings got a win, and the crowd exploded. It was so fun! You can tell this city loves their team and has a lot of die hard fans behind it.
I am usually up to going to any sports game, but it is very rare where I admit to actually having fun. A great time we had, and I would like to personally introduce you to Detroit’s newest Red Wings fans!
The Stanley Cup Playoffs are coming up and we are hoping to snag a pair of tickets to see the Wings play again. I bet those games get even crazier.
Only a few hours away from weekend, I am excited to spend it home tomorrow and then at a Detroit Tiger’s game on Sunday. Can’t wait to see another batch of Detroit sports fans go crazy!
Questions of the Day
• What is your favorite professional sports league and team? (NHL/NBA/NFL/MLB)
• Do you remember the first time you really enjoyed yourself at a game? Or are sports just not your thing?