I’m currently writing from Vancouver, BC with one of my best friends and fellow Detroit Red Wings fan, Chelsea.
About two weeks ago, Chelsea invited me over so we could catch up on the last year and a half. Since leaving the bank, I had been busy with a new career and she had been busy raising a newborn. We talked about the directions life has taken us and good times in the past including the Thunderbirds game we attended a few years back. Talking about that game sparked the interested in all things hockey which then led us down the rabbit hole.
Chelsea grew up in Washington without a local NHL team to root for but her dad had raised her a Detroit Red Wings fan. He said, “At the time (early 90s) they were the worst original 6 team and hadn’t won the cup in years. I got on the loser bandwagon. Stuck with them.”
Although she grew up watching the Wings play, she’d never been to an NHL game and brought up wanting to see them this year when they play in Vancouver. It just so happened that game was the sixth game of the season and was two weeks away. We took that as a sign and bought tickets and a hotel to make this a midweek mini vacation.
The stoke was high for this trip! I hadn’t seen the Wings play since 2014 when I was still living in Michigan and this was Chelsea’s first NHL game and night away from her kiddo. We carefully selected The Sandman Hotel which turned out to be everything we needed in the heart of downtown Vancouver. After four hours on the road, we checked in and had dinner at the hotel restaurant, Moxie’s.
After dinner, I ran to my car to grab something and naturally, locked my keys in the car. We knew there was nothing we could do about it then so we walked to the game as planned and decided to take care of it later that evening or the next morning.
When we got to the arena, we were happy to see more Wings fans and ended up having seats right next to a few! 30 seconds into the first period, Larkin scored! This set the tone for what we thought was going to be a great game. Our fellow fans stood up, we all high fived and sat back down in our silenced celebration.
Vancouver scored late in the first period and by then had almost doubled our shots on net. Things weren’t looking good going into the second period and the rest of the game was downhill from there. I used to think it was tough watching your team lose at home. When you’re away though and the opposing team scores, you feel 18,000 people cheering against you and it hits you hard, right in the soul. Goal after goal, we sat there through it. We left the game thinking about how the team is young and rebuilding but it was still strange to see them struggle after knowing the team I grew up watching.
It wasn’t too late when we got back to the hotel so operation ‘retrieve my keys’ was on. I called a local tow company to come out and within an hour or so my keys were in hand. Great. Now the next hour was spent running around Vancouver trying to figure out how to pay this guy. Apparently he could only accept payment via credit or cash and I only happened to have a debit card on me. We thought this would only be a slight inconvenience as we approached the hotel ATM but the ATM was not in service. We considered online transferring but he didn’t have any supporting apps. At this point, he decided to stay put outside the hotel parking garage as we run around Vancouver in the rain to the nearest 7-11 to find an ATM, fingers crossed. 🤞🏼
We finally got cash, ran back to pay him and about crashed when we arrived back at our room.
The next morning we woke up relieved that the car situation was taken care of so we could get an early start on our long drive home. I made it a point to stop at a Tim Hortons before crossing back into the States. We had them in Michigan living so close to the Windsor border and it had been years since I’d heard the word timbits. This was another first for Chelsea but she took my advice and opted for a ice capp and all its sugary goodness that comes along with a stomach ache.
Our stop at Tim Hortons pretty much wrapped up our trip and we were on our way to a long, but uneventful drive back home. Until next time, Vancouver!