This popular refrain, from an ad for an all-you-can-eat buffet chain, kind of sums up what I'm thinking this Sunday morning, as dawn begins not only over the horizon, but over the 2009-10 hockey season.
Yesterday was the first day that single-game tickets went on sale for 28 of the NHL's 30 teams (Carolina and Nashville, both arenas near college football stadia, were allowed to defer until Monday, Sept. 14th), so now, dear reader, it begs the question: What Minnesota Wild road games are you going to this season?
OK, I know, I'm being nosy. But when NHL pundits and observers such as E. J. Hradek go on XM Radio's NHL Home Ice and proclaim that, "Minnesota Wild fans do not travel well", to me at least that's paramount to waving a red flag in front of a bull.
I'll be going to at least four games prior to the end of 2009; at Chicago (Oct. 26, Martin Havlat returns to Chicago while Marian Hossa, who the Hawks signed to replace Havlat, sits out injured); Nov. 10 at Toronto (a nightmare for buying tickets); Nov. 13 at Washington (a pleasant surprise; and no, we aren't going with the 'official' Road Trip group. We don't have that kind of money) and Nov. 15 at Carolina (hopefully, an afternoon to remember in Raleigh).
There are other games we are looking at, but the big problem is the compressed schedule due to the 2010 Olympic games in Vancouver, which compresses the road trip opportunities to a precious few prior to the Feb. 14 cessation of activities for the Olympics. The Wild play 6 of their first 7 (and 8 of their first 11) on the road, with another 7 of 11 on the road immediately after Thanksgiving. In face, 23 of the 41 road games will be played by New Year's Eve.
What does this mean? You can't wait for the New Year to get your road trip on. The time to do this is early...like, now. So, on we go, now looking at airlines, trains (there will be at least 2-3 of those), hotels, cars, etc., all the ancillary stuff in order to make these trips successful. The best way to do this on a budget (no, I don't have unlimited money for this stuff) is to plan ahead. The days of getting everyone together at the last minute and, 'Hey! Let's go to that game!' are over.
So, my original question is asked once again...
'So wha'dya get?'
That's not just Wild fans. From what I've learned, Minnesotans seem to prefer to stay in state.
Yeah, but Wild fans aren't like, say, Wolves fans...that is, too embarrassed to ever go to another town.
They also don't have the number of close-in opportunities as they do for the Twins (Chicago, Milwaukee, Kansas City) and the Vikings (Green Bay, Chicago, St. Louis just on this year's schedule.)
It's true. I'd definitely take a trip to Chicago for a game. Preferably in the spring if I could catch both the Twins and Wild. That would be smart marketing if the NHL could make that happen.
So far, I've got tickets to the Buffalo game on 3/12, and I'm considering the Toronto game in November. I'd love to go to the Pittsburgh game, but I'm afraid missing Halloween would be a deal-breaker for my wife, if not my (still young enough to totally get into it) kids.
Nick: Wife and I will be at the ACC in November. Bought tickets last Saturday.
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