September 17th, 2005

My Throat Has A Boo-Boo

You see, it was 4:00 p.m. on Friday when J walked into my office and waved two eighth-row tickets to the good old hockey game. I work at a place which supplies teams with things and stuff, and in kind they dump lots of tickets in our direction. Same with all the other major sporting events in town. This hadn't even occurred to me and I've been here for six months! Duh.

The first preseason game for the Oilers is traditionally played agaist their archrivals to the South, the Calgary Flames. This is the time of year when the rookies are fighting for their jobs, so all the third stringers come out. During a normal year these games don't draw much attention, but Edmonton's been NHL-free for more than a year now. People were selling their left nuts to get tickets and someone tossed me a pair three hours before the puck dropped.

And no, I'm not a hockey fan in the least. I didn't miss the NHL on TV, since there was so much more room for movies and stuff. But if you're gonna give me $70 tickets, by gum, I will buy stadium food and boo until my throat is sore! Because that's the duty of every Edmontonian in Rexall Place. And so I did both those things. It turns out that we got to see the first tie-breaker under the new rules.

For those of you who don't live in a hockey town: They changed a bunch of the rules and the playing surface in order to make hockey faster and more exciting. I was gonna interpret this stuff for you but it's bloody complicated so I'll let the NHL explain it themselves (scroll down to "shootout" if you care). Anyway, that shootout bit is bloody exciting at the end. Whenever the Flames came in for the penalty shot, the entire place was practically imploding with Boos, and of course the Oilers got massive Cheers. When one of the Oilers finally scored on the penalty shot and won the game, well, you'd think the end of World War II had been declared. Drunken specimens of Canadian malehood who'd crept down from the gallery were hooting and jumping on the seats like chimps.

The other highlights:

- Calgary, being only 2 1/2 hours away, means plenty of Flames fans in the stands to boo at whenever they cheer. Why do they all sit in the cheap seats?

- The Smooch Cam in the third period, where they zoom in on couples while the fans yell, "SMOOOOOOCH" until they kiss. (I see a pattern of yelling developing here.)

- The taste-test of the new hot dog, and submission request for special names for the chosen weiner...ha ha

- Mr. W and I enjoying ourselves and the spectacle immensely for the price of a couple expensive hot dogs & fries!
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