Sunday, February 14, 2010

Womens Hockey at the Winter Olympics

What a truly great experience for us and the boys. We had the best time! It almost felt like we were Canadian for a day, eh.

We got up early to head to the Lynden border and could count the number of cars in front of us one one... finger! Very easy and felt arriving too early to my friends house to meet and pickup our tickets.

Omer and I got together a couple years ago and decided what was hopefully the best chance to see either Canada or USA women's hockey in downtown Vancouver. We entered and hit the Canadian Olympic lottery for tickets, 7 in total for Canada vs Slovakia on a weekend.

We drove around a bit and found a Tim Hortens to stop at for a bit before going to Omer's house. We finally met and visited for a bit. We headed out about an hour before Omer and family.

Traffic was non existent as we drove into a park and ride in Surrey and simply walked onto the Sky Train that arrived within minutes. They added extra trains and all day the free trains (with our tickets) were not too crowded and we never waited for than a couple minutes for the next train.

Downtown was a different story... Everywhere we walked (and we walked a lot) was crowded and lots of lines to get into the different celebration pavilions. They had different spots setup for each province and a big central LiveCenter. All had long lines.

We met Omer and family for lunch, we walked around Chinatown for 10-15 minutes looking for Dim Sum, but the three places Omer had in mind were all closed. Quite an experience for the kids walking past shop after shop with all sorts of unknown items and the smells of who knows what. We settled on a Chinese diner and ate lunch.

After lunch we walked around the seawall and through the larger Concord Place celebration area with multiple celebration pavilions. Across the water is the Athlete Village, neat to see all the flags.

We then got onto a train to take us to the waterfront to see the Olympic flame, the train was great, but we miss judged the distance from the train to the flame, longer walked than we planned and a lot more people than even the celebration pavilions. We couldn't get a good look at the flame, but we did see it. Kinda anti climatic after all the people we had to sift through to get our small glimpse.

Back on the train to the stadium area of downtown and got in line about 15-20 minutes before the security checkpoints opened to get into the stadium. My oh my, there must of been 20+ security checkpoints and each had a tremendous line. Once they opened it moved smoothly, Debbie had to get scanned with the wand though (her belt). We heard people later inside that they slowed down and some people were late arriving to the match.

We got in the stadium about 2 hours before face off and they had a big screen setup to watch other sports, we watched a bit of ski jumping before finding our seats. I thought these cheapest seats in the stadium were great, 1 row below the roof we could see the whole arena and good view of the center screen for replays and watching pre game videos of the opening ceremonies.

We walked around the stadium a bit and got souvenirs and ate before the game started. Alex got a bit bored before the third period, but everyone else had a blast right up to the final outcome. The place filled up and we felt a bit out of place, almost everyone was wearing Canadian colors, lots of red and white, and a ton of hockey jerseys. Good experience for first hockey game, lots of action, lots of scoring... Canada won 18 - 0!

Due to extra security they only had one exit area and was kinda tight to get out, like a herd of cattle just moo-ving slowly through a small gate.

Once again the Vancouver transit was awesome, as we got on a train without any wait and nice easy ride back to our car. Straight shot from the car down King George highway to the Blaine border and as we got to the border crossing we could again count the number of cars in line in front of us on one... finger! Yeah, best day ever for going across the border!

Not sure if we'll ever go to another Olympics, but this will leave lots a great memories for a lifetime.