Yesterday I went to a Vancouver Canucks game but not just any game...It was game 5 where it was a win or be eliminated from the playoffs by Calgary Flames. But even bigger than that it was a very special trip with my brother Keenan. Many of our friends know what's going on but he's pretty sick and has had a few liver transplants with some tough times ahead. For a day we got to totally forget about everything but the Canucks winning game 5.
My wife and I collaborated to surprise my brother and son with a trip to Vancouver to Game 5 live, in the arena, feeling the energy and being part of it. The night before the big game my wife went over to my brother's place where he had planned to make dinner for all of the ladies in the family. When she was there she said to Keenan that he'd better get a good sleep since tomorrow was a big day...he had no idea what the big day was and here is the video...
For a week before the game I had been excited to share this secret with my bro and had been in contact with the Vancouver Canucks Guest Services to make this a special trip for us. Oscar at Guest Services were amazing and got us lined up for a tour of the arena prior to game time. I didn't realize that this tour is even available and to be honest it made the game a million times more enjoyable. Getting to access an empty arena a few hours before the game got the three of us buzzing. Joshua, Keenan and I were toured around by Christopher who took us for a #RogersArenaTours "Behind the Scenes" adventure. We got to see Rogers arena from the ice to the rafters and even took a few minutes to sit in the penalty box. Joshua was even allowed to operate the actual CBC "Play by Play" camera thanks to some amazing technicians. Thank you so much!
Josh and i picked up Keenan at 7 AM for the 9 o'clock ferry over to Vancouver from Victoria. We were pretty stoked and I think Keenan's biggest worry was picking out which jersey he was going to wear for the tour and which one for the game.
The tour begins -
The Roger Neilson statue
The Hall of Heroes
After the Hall of Heroes we went up, and up, the third deck and higher. If I were rich I think I'd live here. I know there were kitchens and lounge chairs and if there were showers I'm moving in. The view of the ice was incredible.
We saw the Canucks doing some drills early that afternoon well before game time. It was pretty neat to see the empty arena. It was really just us, our group, Christopher, the Canucks and a team of staff that were putting white towels on every single seat in the arena. That's 18 630 seats. Every time we looked out another section was covered, much like the wave that went on during the game. Josh even had a seat at the keyboard that thunders through the arena during the game.
Joshua getting to operate the play by play camera
After that we went down to the ice and sat in the penalty box for a few. During the game it saw surprisingly little use during such an emotion filled playoffs so far. I think the Canucks got it figured out. Less penalties - more shots = Victory
We even practiced some towel waving #towelpower
For the last leg of the tour we went down, all the way to the hallway to the changerooms. Unfortunately the Canucks were already occupying them so we couldn't get in but being down there was pretty cool.
Joshua above, trying out the chin up bars installed for the Vancouver Grizzlies when they used to occupy the arena with the Canucks. The building codes required them to have everything installed for NBA size players. The doors are probably 9 feet tall, the hand dryers above my head and other bathroom appliances adjusted for their height.
After the tour we went to the store and got some souvenirs.
Joshua, practicing his butterfly...
The boys. I didn't bring my real camera to the game but I've got some terrible phone photos that will tell the story well enough...
Joshua getting to give high fives to his hockey heroes
Thank you so much to Christopher (our tour guide), Oscar (Fan services maestro) and the Vancouver Canucks for winning what will be an unbelievable memory for my son, my brother and I. I just can't believe how great the experience was and can't wait for Game 6 tomorrow night.
WE ARE ALL CANUCKS!