Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Bell Center

I know this isn't baseball, but... wow. I have to say, anyone who considers himself to be even a minor hockey fan absolutely must see a Canadiens game in Montreal. On Saturday night, I took a temporary break from my bachelor party to see the Habs trounce the Islanders, and it was a sight to see. Not one person left their seat during play - they all waited until intermission. The beer guy would even sit down during play and wait until a whistle to start selling again.

You were both there in Lynah in 2000 when The Red beat Harvard twice in the playoffs, and when the playoff pairings were announced on Tribute to Seniors night - the Bell Center, for a regular season game against an Eastern Conference doormat, was three times louder than any of those nights. Every time the Canadiens scored, I couldn't even hear myself think. The only thing I've ever seen come close to the energy of the fans at this game are playoff games at Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium. It was stunning.

There were negatives, though. For one, I give you... the wave:

(For some reason, my firefox browser doesn't show this video - if you can't see it, here it is on YouTube.)

There were others... never have I heard more hip-hop songs over a PA system, which, given the sport and the location, was just weird (but I guess that's French Canada for you). The "Olé, OléOléOlé... Olé.... Olé....." chant got really old, really fast. The incredible fan support for a player like Alex Kovalev, one of the biggest wastes of talent in the history of sports, was mind boggling - he got the biggest cheers during the pre-game introductions by a landslide. And, of course, hearing a bunch of drunk, grown men screaming "Wee! Wee!" when something exciting happened just sounded lame.

But still. For 60 full minutes, 44,000 eyes were glued to the ice. I don't see how you can ask for anything more. I've seen NHL games in six venues, and this was, by far, my favorite experience (finishing ahead of a Bruins overtime playoff win over Montreal at the Fleet Center, a Stanley Cup Finals game in New Jersey, and a Bruins-Rangers game at MSG). And I hate the Canadiens. Sorry for the tangent, but I feel like this had to be said.

1 comment:

Warren said...

This is why I've always wanted to see a soccer game in Europe or Latin America, even though I don't really find soccer very interesting. Almost anything is exciting when you've got the right crowd.

Well, maybe not NASCAR.