Monday, November 12, 2007

Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead

That's the title of a song by the late singer and hockey fan, Warren Zevon, and I couldn't get it out of my head at last night's game in Denver. Zevon also teamed up with famed columnist and novelist, Mitch Albom, to write the greatest hockey song ever, "Hit Somebody! (The Hockey Song)". It's the tale of Buddy, a goon from Western Canada who goes through his entire career without ever scoring a goal, "....from peewees and juniors and midgets and mites, he must have racked up more than three hundred fights". Finally, in his last game....Nah, I'm not going to give away the ending, but there's a wicked twist to it. It's on iTunes, so check it out for yourself and tell me if you agree. It even features David Letterman!

I was overjoyed to find that the Pepsi Center in Denver was exactly where the map said it would be, unlike Washington's Verizon Center. Perhaps I won't need to invest in a GPS system after all! Parking was a breeze and I headed across the street to the arena.

I'll be seeing the Minnesota Wild play in three of my next five games, and with their best player, Marian Gaborik injured, they were outplayed by the Avalanche who took a 3-0 lead. Deceptively, the Wild snuck back to make it a 3-2 games, but the Avs added an empty-netter and wrapped up the win.

I was impressed with Avs youngsters Paul Stasny and Wojtek Wolski. I'd seen Wolski play in juniors up in Brampton, during the NHL lockout. He showed me then why he was a first round draft pick, and he didn't disappoint last night.

The first thing that struck me about the Pepsi Center is how dark it is. The concourses are dimly lit compared to most. The lighting is low in the arena before they drop the puck and they turn the lights way down during the intermissions. I figure there are two possibilities. 1) Colorado has a reputation for being an environmentally friendly region, and they are conserving energy, or 2) Maybe the team had a high electric bill last month and is trying to save a little money!

In most arenas, it seems like the lower concourse has a wider choice of concessions and souvenirs than the 300 level. Downstairs is where most teams invest in fancy decorative touches and a wide range of gourmet food, while upstairs you are surrounded by concrete beams and hot dog stands. The Pepsi Center bucks this trend, and I was impressed with the democratic way in which they offer both the upstairs and downstairs patrons similar food and merchandise choices.

I found the first Fish & Chips stand of my journey in Colorado. Jimmy Buffett once said, "Never order seafood in Nebraska", with good reason, and I'm still trying to figure out why I can get Fish & Chips in a building 1,000 miles from the nearest ocean, when I didn't see it in fish-famed Boston, Washington, or Fort Lauderdale!
Almost all of the fans I've met on this trip are guys, which Heather was pleased to find this weekend, but I know there's some ardent female fans out here too. So perhaps if I post a picture of a cute baby, I'll get more female readers. This is Brennan, she's eight months old, and I sat next to her at the game. Look, she's even holding her own ticket!

Do you know the way to San Jose? I do. See you there!


Jennifer Newell said...

There are plenty of female hockey fans! I'm one!

Heard about your blog on Denver's 9news and was very fascinated. I live in Boulder and am a huge hockey fan, and wow would it be cool to do what you're doing someday.

Debs Francisco said...
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Donna said...

Howdy from a fellow Tampa Bay Lightning Fan. I am also a female and Canadian born, so what does that make me? A minority, I am sure.
I told a friend over the summer that I wanted to see an NHL game in every NHL arena in the league before I die, but man, you trumped that. WOW!! 30 in 30. How awesome is that? Hope it all works out and I'll see you at the last game of your trip at the forum. GO BOLTS!!!

Anonymous said...

great song, havent heard it in awhile though...

Anonymous said...

Hey, there are female hockey fans following the NHL AND your blog all the way Down Under in Australia. [raises hand]

Actually, our AIHL (Australian Ice Hockey League) has a healthy proportion of female fans (and boisterous at that!).