Like a lot of Vancouverites, I wasn’t born here. But after leaving Ontario over a decade ago, I fell in love with this city. I’ve almost totally integrated into the West Coast lifestyle, with its outwear-wear fashions and mountain and ocean-based recreation. In most ways, I think of Vancouver as home now. But one thing will never change: I still bleed Blue and White. The Toronto Maple Leafs will always be my team, and I’m not alone; there are rinks full of us transplanted fans out here.
Rogers Arena is home of the Vancouver Canucks, my kinda-sorta adopted step-team. After watching them play numerous games here, what could be better than to watch them take on the Leafs when the Toronto team is in town?
When Toronto plays here, the puck drops at 4pm. The majority of Canucks fans find this a strange start time, but I love it. (Until I moved to Vancouver, I didn’t realize how deep Canuck animosity towards the Leafs and all things Toronto ran. But I could write a whole other post about that tribal feud.)
I was pumped and hyper the whole day of the game. After a quick drink at the packed The Pint, we headed to the rink early to catch the warm-up. Since Leafs Nation turns up in droves for the games here, we lined up at the gate well before opening time, so we could be at the head of pack. The wait was well worth it; we scored front-row seats right by the bench. Warm-up is an excellent opportunity to capture great pre-game shots; for really candid close-ups, walk down to the glass.
After defeating Calgary and Edmonton earlier in the week, the Leafs were looking for a sweep on their Canadian West Coast road trip. Unfortunately, the Canucks had other plans, and handed my boys a 2-1 . Still, I got to see my guys play. And there’s always next year for a win.
By way of post-lost solace, we dropped into the Devil’s Elbow Ale and Smoke House for craft beer and BBQ to cheer us up and attempt to put smiles back on our faces.
Coming to visit for a game? Make sure to book a few extra days to explore Vancouver. You can hit up the local mountains (Seymour, Grouse and Cypress) for snowboarding and skiing, walk or bike along the seawall, for visit the Aquarium and Granville Island. If you love hockey, check out the Rogers Arena Tour, if you go on game day, you may get to witness a game-day skate happening!
Hungry? Check out Yaletown Brewing Company, Warehouse, The Union, Devil’s Elbow Ale and Smoke House,and Bestie by the arena. If you’re short on time and/or cash, you can always grab a hot dog at Costco. But take advantage of Vancouver’s great micro brew beers and pub grub if you can.
Are you a Leafs fan living or visiting Vancouver? I can’t recommend anywhere but the Regal Beagle in Kits. Full sound, Leafs jerseys, and multiple TVs set up for every game. But what really makes the place special is the staff and other customers; it’s like being back in T.O. for a few hours.