Sunday, March 18, 2007

Senators vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Have you ever been to an NHL Hockey Match? ....on St. Patrick's Day?

Yesterday Lukas and I had the chance to discover two of the Canadian culture traditions: hockey and St. Patrick's day.
About Hockey:
For many of my friends and family it will be hard to understand how can Canadians be so passionate about hockey... but at the end the game it's not so different from soccer and people here love hockey rather than soccer (which I already could notice during the FIFA World Cup).

However, going to the stadium to see a hockey match in Canada it's so much different from going to watch a soccer match at the stadium. Some of the differences:

  • Fans are mixed. There is not a "team 1" curve and "team 2" curve... and people are much more relaxed. Nevertheless I think this is something related to hockey in Canada rather than to hockey itself. In Switzerland even hockey has an "ultras" section (ultras = organized supporters' groups for sports teams).
  • Entertainment is not just about the game. While in a soccer match it's all about the match... going to a hockey match it's a lot about tv-style entertainment. Music and lights have a big importance (the negative effect is that sometimes, as yesterday, music is so laud that you can hardly listen/feel the supporters cheers) and during every brake something happens: guests are interviewed or fans are called to play a game. Of course is not only about entertainment, the real goal it's to give sponsors a chance to have more visibility in front of the audience. This leads me to my next point:
  • Too many advertisers and sponsors. During the match, as everyone I guess, we were observing the stadium. We could hardly find a spot without advertisement on it... there was just everything from drinks, to vehicles, to consulting firms and even the University of Ottawa (I think an university should be recognized by other factors rather than an expensive banner in a hockey stadium... but that's a personal perspective). In a soccer stadium usually advertisement is limited to the banners around the field and the players t-shirts... I think that's much better. As a soccer fan in a stadium I usually have the feeling that sponsors are there to support/pay for the game. Yesterday I had the feeling that the advertisers where the protagonists of the evening and the hockey team just an excuse to get people to look at the advertisers. Some of the banners look really funny though... I can't believe they did not notice the result of putting these banners next to each other:
  • More kids in the stadium. I guess this is a positive side effect that derives from the fact of not having ultras or people really absorbed by the game. A hockey place it's a really safe place for kids. So during the game cameras will have great shots from babies supporting the hockey team to teen-agers dressed (or undressed as you can see in the picture on the bottom of this post) with the team colours. Kids also love the teams' Mascotte which is there to motivate people. Unfortunately in South America and Europe is not as obvious and safe to take a kid to the stadium.
  • Cheers and songs are always the same. In soccer every team has its specific cheering songs that can go from very short and simple, to very long and hard-to-remember songs. With Lukas we already went to watch a Hockey match in the US (Washington Caps vs. Stanley-Cup-winners Carolina), and we could notice comparing the two events that songs are short (by short I mean...three words) and always the same (Go Sens Go!, Go Caps Go!, Go Leafs Go!)(not very original).

In conclusion, it was a great experience to enjoy the Senators game but we wonder if it would be as interesting to go to the stadium on a more regular basis. For sure it would be super expensive: a beer and a coke = 14 dollars; a parking cost of 10$ (which is not honest given the fact that the Senators Stadium - the Scocia Place - it's in the middle of nowhere, with only fields around and around 25 min. away -through the highway- from Ottawa downtown) and of course the tickets.

About St. Patrick's Day!
As you can see in the picture both Lukas and I and many other people in the stadium (including the Senators Mascotte) were wearing green! This is because it was St. Patrick's day, the Irish patron day. The interesting thing is that most of the people do not really know what St. Patrick is about.... which is not only about dressing in green colours and drinking green beer. To discover more about it click here.

The Swiss Plus:
The Senators Goal-keeper is Martin Gerber, a Swiss Player :D (that you can see in the back of the picture with the kids and the Senators Mascotte). He did a great job yesterday and we were very proud of him (especially because there is a whole debate here about Gerber's skills compared to the other goal-keeper -Emily- skills). Go Gerby Go!

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At 11:30 AM , Blogger Chiara's wonderful world said...

Ups, I think that a hockey fan could easily spot that I'm not an informed hockey supporter. The name of the second Senator's goal-keeper is Emery (and not Emily). Nevertheless I think Emily it's a very nice name and easier to remember than Emery :)


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