Thursday evening I got to partake in a time honored tradition. It's something that the people of Raleigh seem to enjoy quite a bit. I notice it as I drive my car down the road. I see it in bumper stickers and car magnets. A rounded red and black logo that sort of looks like the eye of a storm. That storm represents Raleigh's NHL team, the Hurricanes.
In 2006, the Hurricanes won the coveted Stanley Cup. Since then, they've been unable to recapture that magic. That being said, we were still hopeful that the 'Canes would pull off a win. We were hopeful because, for several of us, it was our first NHL game.
I'm not sure how it all came about. I never heard the full story. But somehow we were able to procure seven VIP tickets to Thursdays game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Now, let me tell you about these seats. No, let me show you the view from these seats...
Yeah, from that picture it seems like we were really far away. But we really weren't that high up. We were behind the goal. We were seated at a long table-like surface. And embedded in this table-like surface were television screens. Therefore, if we chose to not pay attention to the jumbo screen in the center of the RBC Center, we could just look down at our own personal TV.
I was disappointed that there were not a lot of fights. That's part of the fun of hockey, the senseless violence. I mean, you just get a jolt of excitement when you see some big guy check someone against the boards. The stupid refs kept breaking stuff up before they could really get going. I wanted to see the gloves come off and watch these guys just wail on each other. Didn't happen.
Legendary anchorman Ron Burgundy made a special appearance, trapped inside his glass cage of emotion. But there was reason to rejoice. After spending much of the game tied at 2, the Hurricanes pulled out the win in the closing minutes of the third period.
I can say honestly that I had a great time. Not only because the game was fairly entertaining, but because we had vouchers for free beverages and food. Now that I've experienced the NHL from the VIP POV, I'm not sure I'll want to go again if it means I'll have to mingle amongst the commoners. If you haven't noticed, hockey fans are an excitable bunch. So yeah, I wouldn't necessarily categorize myself as a "Caniac," but if presented with another opportunity to go to a game, I'll do it. Good times.
In other news, tonight is the last night to vote over there at the right. Make your vote count. Winners will be announced tomorrow.