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09-08-2013, 05:16 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2003
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Originally Posted by leclair1088 View Post
I want to get to an away Flyers game this year and mess around in whatever city for a couple days.

I was looking at either Montreal or Chicago. Montreal game is a Saturday night so that might be easier since my girlfriend has school during the week and the Chicago game is a Wednesday night.

Anyone have any tips/hints about either city? Best hotels to stay at....what to do in the city?
I'm halfway through making it around the league.

I haven't seen a game in Chicago yet but both cities are fun. I love going to games in Montreal, the atmosphere is indeed amazing with 20,000 rabid Habs fans. You can feel the anticipation with each rush up ice. (Contrast with Toronto, which is a nice arena, but it had the dead corporate feel - really awkward when my friend and I cheered the Leafs coming onto the ice as we're used to doing for the Flyers [it was a game vs. Florida so we were cheering the home team] and there wasn't much of a reaction otherwise. At one point the security guard on the above catwalk was prompting fans to make noise and a regular teased him that they're not allowed to.) For convenience, I've usually stayed at the nearby Marriott but there are plenty of hotels near Centre Bell.

One tip for the person visiting San Jose - don't wait to visit the team store if you plan on doing so after the game. It's not a huge store and the line after the game backed up all the way around the hall into an interior hallway. I ended up stopping by on a non-event day later in my trip. It's a good crowd but the arena didn't stand out to me.

NJ and DC are easy train/subway trips I try to do annually, but some of my other favorites are Vancouver, Carolina (love the tailgating and the Caniacs are friendly), Columbus (great arena, walk across the footbridge to the hockey themed R Bar before or after the game, plenty of hotels/bars/restaurants in easy walking distance), Toronto (I love visiting the city in general. Pregame tip - go to Steam Whistle right in front of the CN Tower. Besides the brewery tours they offer, you get a free 6oz sample just for walking in and of course you can buy additional drinks at the bar.)

I've only taken the tour of Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh (BTW, if into arena tours, Vancouver and Montreal are two I really enjoyed. Vancouver had all sorts of freebies and I timed a Montreal tour with a peek at the Flyers morning skate from the press gondolas. It's a very high but good vantage point.) but as much as it pains me to say, it is a beautiful new arena. The AAC in Dallas also stood out for the fancy floors and overall interiors since it feels more like an upscale hotel lobby, not a traditional arena concourse.

I'd pick Tampa over Florida if I only had to do one of the FL teams, much better fan atmosphere and feel in the arena, plus it's right by the water. Florida is adjacent to Sawgrass Mills Mall and the concession stands are like a mall food court. Between that and the dance stage at one end of the lower bowl, it just didn't feel like a hockey arena. (Perhaps it's appropriate that the Pantherland store is huge.)

If you're the type who likes to attend team practices, the Star Center in Frisco if you're visiting Dallas is reminiscent of Skate Zone. It was a game day when I checked it out so Stars practice was a closed one at AAC but I'll definitely try to make a practice next time I visit. The Panthers practice facility also isn't too far from the arena. I stopped by before leaving town and driving to Tampa and I think it was a bit surprising someone was actually there to watch practice, lol. It was easy to snag a few pucks that hit the netting. I've only been there for a public skate, but Columbus has their rink attached to the arena.

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