Hockey: The Great Unifier?

If you’ve followed my blog for awhile then you might remember this post from a little over a year ago when I recapped our first ever stay in Vancouver, BC. About two weeks ago we went back for an extended weekend. 

The first trip was about exploring and this second jaunt to Vancouver was all about leisure. Specifically, hockey.

My husband and I are big St. Louis Blues fans and when we saw they were playing a game in Vancouver, we immediately bought tickets. What made the timing of this particular trip even sweeter was that we arrived in Vancouver on the night of the NHL All Star game and two of our friends from Washington who are also St. Louis transplants were in town for the Canucks-Blues game as well.

We all went into the sports bar where we’d agreed to watch the game with an expectation that this was going to be a loud, rambunctious night. We were watching the All Star game in Canada, after all. To our confusion and to the frustration of the other people in the bar, the four of us seemed to be the only ones who gave a flip about the game being played on the TV.

What the heck? This was Canada, right? Had we stepped into some parallel universe?

After that evening we weren’t sure what to expect at the game the following Monday night. Although St. Louis lost, it was a great game, but I’ve never had an experience quite like that before. Hockey in Canada is intense. And fast-paced. And fun! 

But between the sports bar and the actual game we snuck in a few non-hockey related activities. We walked a significant portion of the 28 kilometer Stanley Park seawall, hit Granville Island, ate lots of yummy food, and spent some time relaxing.

No matter what part of the city we visited, a peculiar phenomenon happened every time we were out. Usually people avoid communicating with strangers, myself included, but something funny happened in Vancouver.

What was odd this trip was that our Blues gear was a big welcome sign. We met so many other Blues fans and seeing each other throughout the city was like recognizing that we’d found a friend, or at the very least, someone like us.

Our team gear wasn’t just a way to talk to other Blues fans. It was a great conversation starter with locals, too. No matter where we went, be it a bar, restaurant, a local shop, the park or on the Amtrak, someone had something to say to us. 

The experience made me wonder if we were all a little more open to conversations with strangers, if we were just a bit more willing to show interest in each other, if we’d find out that there are friends to be found in every city, town, and country we visit.