Adler Mannheim fan visit: Epilogue
by Andrew Kulyk (@akulykUSRT) - posted 1:16 pm, February 12, 2012
Fans in attendance at the Dallas Stars game at First Niagara Center heard them – their chants and their noise and their singing from high up in sec 323 wafted through the seating bowl, and they were rewarded with an epic comeback and eventual shootout win. Two games, two wins, and three magical days for them here in the Queen City.
But one more day would be on tap for them – a doubleheader up in Toronto, featuring an AHL Toronto Marlies game at Ricoh Coliseum in the afternoon, followed by the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre in the evening.
Would the Germans be up for the challenge of a hockey twin bill? It didn’t seem so early on, as the group looked a bit bedraggled, sitting in their corner end zone seats at Ricoh. Apparently a night of partying in downtown Buffalo, many ended up at Pearl Street, then a 5 AM wakeup call for the Megabus ride from downtown Buffalo to downtown Toronto had everyone pretty tired. Nonetheless a nice little scoreboard salute and a visit from the team mascot to their section perked the group up, and quite frankly, their noise and mojo really weren’t needed on this afternoon, as the home team Marlies cruised to an easy 5-1 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs, and a third period filled with brawls.
After the game, most of the group headed via streetcar (or S-Bahn, in Germanspeak) over to the Air Canada Centre, for the nightcap. Now get this – somehow, the Adler Mannheim organizers secured 50 tickets to the Leafs game. Normally that would be a heavy lift for a Monday night Leafs game against Phoenix. But this was Saturday night Hockey Night in Canada. Vs. Montreal. And Hockey Day in Canada. And Mats Sundin banner raising night. On the street the few available tickets were fetching eye popping prices ($600 in the top of the arena). I even suggested that they might want to consider selling their block of tickets and thus making back a huge chunk of the cost of the trip. But for these hardened hockey crazies, the ACC experience would be literally priceless.
As it turned out, two extra tickets became available for the group, and Chantalle and Dominik from the sub-group ended up going, while the rest were relegated to a night of food and drink at Wayne Gretzky’s joint on Blue Jays Way and the games on TV.
So off we went, about ten of us, for one final night of good food, great conversation and a night of sports. The time went by too fast, with final goodbyes, and laying plans and a rough itinerary for a future USRT adventure, which would take us from Dortmund to Mannheim to Munich and then to Bern and Zurich in Switzerland. Hockey, soccer and good times with good friends. What better! So Auf Wiedersehn! Until we meet again!
In all, our new found friends traveled to four cities and caught hockey in all of them on an incredible sports adventure. Here are their final highlights and takes from the places they visited:
On Boston – Just amazing all the reverence to American history and the historical buildings and markers everywhere. We really like the Irish pubs which seemed to be on every corner.
On New York – A terrific cosmopolitan city perhaps the best in the world. How cool it was to be in a sports bar last Sunday and watch the Super Bowl with a whole room full of excited NY Giants fans
On Buffalo – Perhaps the friendliest people we have met anyplace. You and Peter and Suzanne and Cindy were just great. But no matter where we went the citizens were so polite and so welcoming. We could not ask for better hospitality
As for the food experience in Buffalo, (and the group went to many places) – #1: The chicken wings at Bada Bings, medium and barbecued. One really has to come to Buffalo to enjoy the real thing. #2: the sweet potato fries dipped in honey, dished at the Atrium Bistro at the Hyatt Regency. Heh, go figure!
On Toronto – Hockey is so part of the culture here and seems to be part of everything. The advertising, the clothes people wear, the pond rinks and hockey facilities seem to be every place one looks