Here’s is hockey fan’s Liam Bulloch’s advice for surviving playoff hockey in Canada.
NHL playoff hockey has arrived. In June, one team will emerge victorious, hoisting the elusive Stanley Cup trophy and thereby signalling the end of the nine month grueling season.
The last time a Canadian team brought the cup home was in 1993 when the Montreal Canadiens were victorious. Get yourself prepared with ten essential tips for surviving NHL playoff season.
Hockey as a whole, is a galaxy away from anything Europeans are familiar with. The walk to the arena is mellow, shy of ill temper and tetchiness. Aside from the ladies who fancy their chances to be invited to the hockey wives club, the atmosphere feels exceedingly PG13 and family specific. There is a sense of togetherness and eagerness.
North American’s see no need in point sharing during NHL playoff hockey. If the game is tied after three twenty-minute periods, we find ourselves in a shootout to declare the winner. It’s extraordinarily fast-paced. Keeping track of the puck can initially prove tricky, and the absurd amount of nonsensical stoppages for TV adverts is annoying. Keep an eye on the referee’s arms to see which team has been awarded the puck.
- Frequency of games.
There are eighty-two league games to determine the NHL playoff hockey Stanley Cup contenders. Yes, eighty-two. Once playoffs begin, expect to see an unprecedented amount of hockey on television. Each of the four rounds consists of a ‘best-of-seven’ game sequence, including the all-heroic final. It’s impossible to detach yourself from the gladiatorial etiquette that paves the streets, making the latter stages of the competition so special.
- Sidney Crosby
This list would read rather stale without the mention of Canada’s prized asset, Sidney Crosby. The Lionel Messi of hockey, he’s the poster boy for all wannabe superstars across the country. Crosby plays his trade over in Pittsburgh, but he frequently travels for games into Canada. Tickets sell like hot cakes when he’s in town, and they don’t come cheap. The buzz he gathers is electric and isn’t something to miss.
- Don Cherry
Don Cherry is a name that might not mean a great deal now, but certainly will do throughout the course of the playoff hockey season. The former Boston Bruins coach, combines bias-based expertise with flamboyant suits in his game commentary. Despite the fact that he should probably come with a UVF warning, his presence is cherished, as shown by his recent 7th placed finish in a ‘greatest Canadian’ poll by CBC.
- NHL 15 by EA Sports
Between playoff hockey games, there are video games. Grabbing the latest copy in the NHL franchise is the perfect way to sharpen your hockey skills. It’s fun, especially if you can profess ‘conquering status’ towards one of your Canadian pals.
- Oh Canada
Sung with pride, the national anthem is loud and proud. Belted out in playoff hockey by everyone in the stands, and the players on the ice, you should know the words if you’re going to the game. OOOOOOOOOHHH CANNNNNNAAAAADAAAA, etc.
- Choose your Bar
If you can’t attend the game in person, bars are an excellent way of meeting other fans, and there are tons to choose from in every city. Seats in bars can be almost as hard to find as tickets to the game, so get there early.
- Deadline Day
Trade deadline day, early March. Canadian sports channels TSN, and Sportsnet, dedicate an entire twenty-four hours that hockey fans watch, listen and interact with maximal scrutiny. With some teams opting to avoid the craze, others see the day as the perfect opportunity to strengthen themselves for the forthcoming seasons. Comparable to the lunacy that surrounds European deadline day across the soccer seasons, it’s also a known day to all employers across the country, due to the heightened risk of employees seemingly developing a short term sickness bug the night before.
Playoff hockey is upon us! Enjoy the excitement, cheer for the home team, and get yourself a jersey to show your pride! For info on a working-holiday visa, and eventually, a seat at the game, download our Getting Started Guide!