Monday, March 5, 2012

2012 Prairie Trip Summary

I always like to post a small summary of any big trip I take, more for my own purposes, so please excuse the self-indulgence.

I was on the road for 22 days during which I saw 4 NHL, 7 WHL, 2 Junior A hockey, 5 basketball (NBA, NBDL, NCAA, 2 CIS), and 2 NCAA baseball games, all while driving 3,000 miles.

The best game was Philadelphia's 5-4 OT win in Winnipeg, a game that I almost skipped due to not having a ticket. The moral being always go to the venue, you never know what might happen.

The most enjoyable game was Toronto's OT win in Edmonton, with the game-clinching goal happening right in front of me.

The worst game was Toronto's 5-1 loss in Calgary but I can take solace in that game being part of the 1-9-1 streak that ended Ron Wilson's tenure as the Leafs' head coach.

This was the first extended sports trip I have taken in Canada and it really helped me to reconnect with my roots. I've never spent that much time in the west and I found it very relaxing driving along these empty highways, beautiful vistas stretching as far as the eye can see. Perhaps the most amazing sight was during a night drive from Kindersley to Swift Current, where we took a backroads route, with almost no traffic passing us for nearly two hours. We stopped briefly and turned the car lights off, stepping out to see the Milky Way in all its majesty. The millions of stars are not visible in a city, where the ambient light created by humanity blocks the starlight created by nature.

It was certainly quite different than driving in LA, with thousands of vehicles travelling 75 MPH along 5 lanes of blacktop, weaving in and out with no discernible pattern. No need to tell you which is more enjoyable.

This was a wonderful trip for me, especially the junior hockey games. I felt a connection to each community when I spent time in their arena; each rink brings a unique history that reveals how much hockey is a part of life in Western Canada.

Unfortunately, there's not much other than hockey to watch in the Great White North, at least in terms of being able to find games on a regular basis. College sports there aren't that compelling and there is no real baseball or basketball league that would allow for 7 games in 7 nights. I hope to see all the junior hockey rinks as well as do a CFL tour but after that, I'll be out of options for sports road trips in Canada as I've now seen every NHL rink there.

That is still be a few years away though, in the meantime, I'll be planning plenty of trips to take in the great ballparks of minor league baseball among other sports. This blog is nearly three years old and I'll make an announcement on the anniversary (March 21) about my Quest for 400, so check back then.




  1. Nice trip Sean! Sounds like you had an awesome time.

    May I suggest the Iditarod as a possible target road trip destination... :)

    Sean S.

  2. Good idea, I'll have to add that as part of the tour to see the Alaska ECHL team.