Connecting over ice hockey in Montreal

Sport… and ice hockey

I am a self-professed sports fan. While I don’t go crazy about them, I do consider it a mission to attend sporting events wherever I go. This desire has led me to see ice hockey in Canada and France. I’ve watched soccer in England, Peru, and Argentina. I’ve attended cock fighting in Ecuador and bull-fighting in Mexico. Additionally, I’ve also seen hurling in Ireland, fencing in Russia, biathlon in Switzerland, and the Olympics in USA and Italy.  

Basketball has been my jam since I could walk

I go for the love of competition, for sportsmanship, and to see the joy in the competitors faces. As a former athlete myself, I understand the level of sacrifice needed to achieve success in a person’s chosen field. [I went to college on a volleyball scholarship, but never played a match since the college disbanded the program. I later transferred and participated in fencing on the collegiate level.]

One of the glorious things about not having plans when visiting somewhere new is allowing for serendipity to take its course. I won tickets to opening night of Montreal Canadiens 2011 season. With my new Slovakian friend Jan, whom I met in the hostel and spent the day exploring old town Montreal, off to the Bell Centre we went. My only previous experience with NHL hockey was with Carolina Hurricanes, and while it was entertaining, North Carolina is not an ice hockey mecca.  

While not actually playing ice hockey, we were pretending to body check each other into the wall whilst ice skating

Connecting with people wherever I am

Montreal, where they have had a hockey team for more than 100 years…or  Boston …or Pittsburgh, can claim that title. Sitting there watching ice hockey, hearing French being spoken all around, talking about the differences between the Canadian version of hockey and the Slovak/central Europe version of hockey, it came to me: this is what life and to a lesser extent travel is all about–sharing positive experiences with people in your world. Jan’s English wasn’t great; my Slovakian was nearly non-existent, neither of us knew French, but we connected with the universal language of sport. Connections matter. People matter. And sport has the unique ability to connect us all.

The musical accompaniment to this post is one of the most popular songs played at hockey matches– AC/DC’s Hells Bells.

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