Last night, Colin and I went to the Canucks game. Going to a Canucks game is usually not that big a deal. Sure, it’s always a fun time. But it’s nothing special. In the first year of us dating, I think we went to eight games. But last night’s game was a big deal. It was the Sedins’ last home game.
Now, I’m the first to admit that I’m not a huge hockey fan or sports person. You’re unlikely to see another sports post on this blog ever again. I grew up liking basketball mainly because my dad liked it. But in Vancouver, we don’t have a local basketball team and Colin and I don’t have cable, so I don’t watch many basketball games.
Vancouver is totally a hockey town. I was at UBC when the Vancouver Canucks made it into the Stanley Cup finals (and lost and then rioted… but we don’t like to talk about that). I remember watching some of those final games in our dorm lounge. But it wasn’t until I started dating Colin that I began to watch games, attend games and even buy a Canucks shirt.
I love attending games. It’s so much more fun to be in the arena and enjoy the atmosphere of the game live. Watching on TV, I find myself getting bored and wishing the annoying announcers would stop talking. But being at the arena is so much more exciting. On a lot of our trips together, Colin and I have gone to games: hockey and basketball games in LA, baseballs games in San Francisco and New York, and hockey and baseball games in Phoenix.
If, like me, you’re not a long time Canucks fan, let me fill you in. Henrik and Daniel Sedin are our shining stars. They’re red headed twins from Sweden who have played for the Canucks their entire career – almost 20 years. Obviously, with a career that long, their days were numbered. Earlier this year, the Sedins penned a letter to Vancouver talking about how much they loved the city that had become their home.
And then, just in this last week, they wrote another letter. The Sedins announced that they would be retiring at the end of this season – with only three games to go! Colin thinks something may have happened over March break. Maybe their wives had had enough or the Sedins realized they wanted to be with their kids more.
So the letter goes live and immediately, fans are scrambling. The Sedins would only be playing three more games and only two of them would be in Vancouver (their final game is in Edmonton). Right away, ticket prices were going through the roof. A friend of Colin’s managed to snag normal priced tickets to the Sedins’ last home game, but he jumped on them before he even finished reading the entire letter.
Colin and I looked for tickets. But they were quickly going out of our price range. Everyone and their dog seemed to be searching for tickets. I joined a couple of Facebook groups and made some inquiries on Craigslist. But all to no avail. One person was willing to sell us seats in section 300 for $450, but ended up selling them for over $500. Needless to say, good seats in the 100 section were easily going well above $500 (think closer to $1000/pair). So we resigned ourselves to the fact that we wouldn’t be going to the Sedins’ last home game. We talked about heading to a pub early that night so we could at least watch the action with fans.
But things changed on Tuesday. I was scrolling through Facebook and noticed that someone had posted tickets for sale for the Sedins’ last home game. And they were in the 100 section. Even better? They were listed at a reasonable price (reasonable has become subjective at this point).
I quickly messaged the seller, and even though they were just posted, I was already the second person to get in touch. But lucky for me, the first person’s financing was held up. Because I was able to meet immediately with cash, the seller decided to give me the tickets – and I even got $50 off the listed price! See? Working from home and scrolling through Facebook does have its perks!
I had butterflies in my stomach the whole time. In fact, the butterflies didn’t subside until we actually got our tickets scanned to get into the game. I was so nervous! Was the seller going to bail? Were the tickets real?
Surprising Colin with the tickets on Tuesday night was so much fun. He came home and I acted casual, asking him about his day and discussing our dinner plans. I then told him I had a surprise for him and that he should hold out his hands. I rummaged in the kitchen cabinets, pretending I was getting some sort of chocolate surprise, but then put the tickets into his hands.
He was so shocked! He kept saying, “What? You’re ridiculous. Are you serious? You’re crazy.” I was hoping for more than just disbelief, but I could tell the joy was there. For the next two days, Colin was smiling and getting super excited.
Two hours before the Sedins’ last home game, Colin and I met for dinner. I kept nervously checking that I had the tickets in my purse. The entire neighbourhood was packed with people in Canucks colours (and some in Sweden’s yellow and blue). We met for sushi, and Colin was so nervous he couldn’t even finish his dinner. We knew there was the possibility the tickets weren’t legit.
Thankfully, they were. We got scanned into the game and both let out a huge sigh of relief. Now, we could enjoy ourselves! So naturally, we headed over to the bar. Did you know Rogers Arena does happy hour? And did you know two drinks at happy hour costs $18.75? Not the happiest price I’ve ever seen.
And then, it was time for the Sedins’ last home game. (Yes, we’re almost 1000 words in and I haven’t gotten to the game yet.)
Remember how much I love the atmosphere at a live game? Well, this one was that times a million. The same excitement I was used to experiencing at a Canucks game was blown out of the water. Just for the warm ups, we were all standing, clapping, hooting and hollering. I was tearing up watching all of the video montages they had put together for the Sedins. And of course, we all lost it anytime Henrik or Daniel waved at the crowd.
Considering how much we paid for our seats, you better believe I was invested in that game! In the past, I’ve been known to complain about how long hockey games are. But this one totally flew by! I didn’t even notice the time ticking down until there was only a minute or two left in each period.
I won’t walk you through all of the details of the game. If you want that, I’m sure they have the play by play on ESPN or SportsNet (that’s what those channels are called, right?).
But I will walk you through some of my highlights. When the anthem singer came out, us Canadians did ourselves proud loudly belting out our anthem. And after the anthem was over, the Sedins both hugged Ashley, a little nine year old player who was chosen to stand with the starters during the game opening.
Every time the Sedins came out onto the ice, a huge round of applause came with it. And every time the whistle was blown to stop play while the Sedins were on the ice, it was time for a standing ovation. The applause would go on for so long. The refs have probably never had to wait that long to start up a game again. Even the players were getting into it – banging their hockey sticks on the ice or the boards as their own form of applause.
We also did the Viking Clap – an ode to the Sedins’ Swedish routes. When Colin first showed me a video of it on his phone, I was skeptical we’d be able to pull it off in a big arena. But they played the video on the screens and it was so cool to be a part of! And then, an enthusiastic fan who had brought his own drum lead us in another few rounds of the Viking Clap. It was the coolest!
And then there were the goals! Daniel’s first goal of the game was his 22nd goal of the season and it was scored 33 seconds into the second period. Do you know why that’s so cool? Because Daniel wears #22 and his brother, Henrik, wears #33.
At one point, the game was 3-1 for the Arizona Coyotes. Colin and I had already watched the Coyotes beat the Canucks once this season; we did not want to watch that happen again for the Sedins’ last home game. Luckily, we didn’t have to. Somehow, our boys pulled out two more goals to tie the game 3-3. The crowd was going insane! You could feel the excited energy reverberating through the stadium.
Overtime starts and we’re all on our feet. We’ve been standing since the last few minutes of the third period. And, of course, we jump up every time there’s a goal or it’s time to salute the Sedins. I don’t think I’ve ever paid so much for a seat I didn’t actually sit in!
So we’re all standing, watching and nervous as heck as overtime starts. We’re cheering, clapping, hollering and whatever else. And then, a penalty is called on Arizona. That means they’d be playing a man down and it was our perfect chance. Naturally, the Sedin twins are put in. It couldn’t be a more ideal opportunity for them.
We all watched as they showed us some of that Sedin magic. They took their time, expertly passing back and forth, waiting for that opening. And they found it! Daniel scored, the Canucks won and the building absolutely erupted. I was literally jumping up and down! He also managed to score at 2 minutes and 33 seconds into overtime, another nod to his brother wearing #33.
It was the fairytale ending. When we walked into Rogers Arena a couple of hours before, we were just excited to be there for the Sedins’ last home game. Win or lose, it was going to be an amazing game and moment in sports history. But to have a win, and to have the winning goal scored by a Sedin, now that was truly special.
The entire team poured out onto the ice to surround the Sedins in huge hugs. Colin and I were hugging and wiping back tears. The Coyotes lined up so they could shake the Sedins’ hands. Even the refs got into line to shake their hands. Of course, we were all on our feet applauding the entire time. People were throwing their hats onto the ice (or trying to, many hats just landed in the stands).
The Sedins did a couple of laps around the arena waving to us and applauding us right back. They did a short interview on the ice to talk about their time with the Canucks and what this last home game meant to them. Then they skated over to their bench and made sure to hug every player, coach and other important white man in a suit. But they weren’t done yet (and neither were we!). Hank and Danny (I can call them that now, right?) skated back out being awarded the three stars for the night and did another few laps around the rink.
After Henrik and Daniel finally skated off the ice for the final time, we stuck around to watch one last montage video. I’ve never seen so many fans wait until the last minute to leave the building. Usually there’s a rush to leave in the last few minutes of play to avoid line ups getting out. But we were in no hurry.
No one wanted the Sedins’ last home game to come to an end.