Back in May I decided to treat myself.
Last winter I was trying to save up a bit of money to fly out to Helsinki, Finland for the 2016 World Junior Hockey Championships, I didn’t raise the money so I spent the entire winter at home.
Then in May I had the idea again and this time I had more time to save.
So I’m not in Cardiff, Wales right now, I’m in Toronto, Canada.
I’ve been experimenting with YouTube recently so I was going to experiment with daily vlogging my experience, but after avoiding the workplace illness that was spreading as long as I can, it hit me and now I’m left with the sore throat which is my perfectly legitimate excuse to just write a daily blog instead.
I left Cardiff for Heathrow just before 5am on boxing day, luckily my mum was able to drive me up in time to be an hour or so early for check in.
So I wrestled with the temperamental Heathrow Wi-Fi and was able to watch an episode of Mr Robot while I waited.
08:25 – “British Airways flight to Toronto is now ready to check in” so I join the queue to be told there’s long delays today so I may be queuing for a while.
By 9am I was checked in, through security and having breakfast, hardly a delay.
I still had a while to go until my flight took off so after breakfast I did the usual airport stuff. Go to duty free and be amazed at how cheap the stuff I didn’t want was and feel a bit personally insulted when I didn’t think the thing I did want was reduced by enough. I’m not proud of that.
I would detail my flight but they’re all the same, the food was bad, the baby was crying, the mother didn’t care and if I wasn’t watching a movie I was asleep and if I wasn’t asleep I was watching a movie.
To be fair though, there was one seat on the flight that didn’t get sold and it was next to me so overall I’d say I had a good flight, I got to be antisocial and have leg room.
Border patrol was fun, I think it may have been the red passport but everyone who stopped me grilled me about why I was there. Seeing as though I was rudely awoken by the thud of the plane touching down I was still waking up, so in hindsight when a border patrol officer asks “why are you here?” The answer should never be “because my plane landed”. I wasn’t sure if they were going to interrogate me or ask where my minder was.
The rest of the afternoon passed without incident, I freshened up, went to the shop and anybody I interacted with complimented my English accent. So after the fourth time of this I complimented them back on there American accent. I can be petty.
Now I would like to say something incredible happened but to be honest, the most exciting thing to happen was forgetting I opened the curtains and realising as I was drying off after my shower. After that I just watched tv and contemplated sleeping for a week. But eventually I pulled myself together and it was time to go back out.
I worked in an ice rink (two to be precise) over the last four years so I was pretty excited to go down to a Canadian rink, I was incredibly excited to head down to the Air Canada Centre to watch two of international hockeys biggest rivals. Canada V Russia.
As far as hockey goes, I’ve seen some pretty solid games in the UK, Being from Cardiff, the 2015 Challenge Cup win for the Devils was up there, and then other than the odd one or two, or the ones I’ve caught on TV I will never see another game like this.
I’ve been watching my local team in a 3000 seat arena week in week out since the Cardiff Devils moved to their new home, so I knew the ACC was going to be a lot bigger, but I was staggered at just how much bigger.
Despite being able to get a decent sleep on the flight I couldn’t fully enjoy the game, but it still will be the best game of hockey I’ve watched.
Tyson Jost was on fire for the Canadians, Matthew Barzal was incredible and and Dylan Strome was insane. The Canadians took a 5 – 3 victory, holding off from some suspect goaltending from Carter Hart. It was easily a better game than I’ve ever seen live before and we’ll worth fighting sleep for.
So the rest of the night was uneventful, a slow walk back to the hotel and straight to bed.
CN Tower Tomorrow.