Senator Home Game in Ottawa Canada
Ottawa Senators Game at the Canadian Tire Centre
Making the most of what's nearby
Sens Home Game in Ottawa - I won't lie, I'm actually not the biggest fan of sports. I certainly don't dislike sports, and I absolutely get into it once I'm at a game, but the thought of watching a sports game doesn't really excite me like, say lichens or a National Historic Site. Shocking, I know - something that doesn't excite Sarah! But, it's true - sports fall into this very sparsely populated category of things I'm just not super jazzed about.
So, needless to say, when I got invited to a Sens game, I had a moment of hesitation. Sure, there's the nostalgia factor of remembering the many Sens games I went to with my Dad when I was in high school, so that has value. And, of course, it's a great way to spend time with a friend while getting to see them excited about something that makes them happy, which I absolutely love. Ultimately, despite my slight reservations, I decided to say yes. And, boy, was I in for a surprise!
I hadn't been to a hockey game (or anything at the Canadian Tire Centre, for that matter), in years. I was pretty sure, however, that the right thing to do before a hockey game was to get filled up with good food and drink! We made our way to Darcy McGee's, just down the road from the Canadian Tire Centre. Again, somehow a new experience for me, despite living in Ottawa for years. There were so many awesome options on the menu, from unique starters, to traditional pub fare, to some great vegan options. There were so many great options, in fact, that it took me twice and long to decide what to order, ultimately landing on the salmon bowl and being extremely happy with my decision and perhaps the best salmon I've ever had. The one thing I didn't have trouble deciding on, however, was a drink! Despite a lot of excellent options, the Sunsplit IPA from Dominion City Brewing caught my attention on from the signboard before we even walked in. And, naturally, the right choice was to upgrade to the gigantic mug at a whopping 23 ounces. Money well-spent.
Inside the Canadian Tire Centre
After food, it was time to make our way to the game. Before we even entered, there was a tent (presumably a beer tent) set up outside with music - definitely a great start in my eyes, since I love both music and beer! Now, once again, I hadn't been to the Canadian Tire Centre in over a decade, so I was not prepared for how much is had grown up! There was cool art on the walls. There were multiple stores with merch. There was different food and drink around every corner! It was all very exciting, but nothing compared to what was in store for us once we took our seats! We were there for a Sens home game, after all!
Hockey is great, and there was lots of it. Both teams played well. The mascot was all over the place doing his thing. The audience was highly engaged and excited to see themselves on the big screen. The Sens even took home a victory in overtime. But what surprised me most was the sheer entertainment value of all of the moments when hockey was not being played. I was certainly mesmerized by the giant LED panels circling the entire arena. I was definitely highly amused by the fact that there is a whole team of people with shovels who's job it is to skate around with shovels and clear the ice between plays. I was extra surprise when they started giving entire rows gift cards, pulling audience members for games, and even giving away a trip to Barbados. But things got, to be, super crazy between periods - there was a full-on band playing sets. There was a party Zamboni. Seriously. It was enough to almost make my head explode, but in the best way possible.
So, while I may not be a huge sports fan, I am a huge fan if fun. An being there is that space, watching so many people get excited by something, you just can't help but get excited right along with them and take joy in their enjoyment of the game. What the experience taught me, mostly, was that there is absolutely value in exploring the space around you. I live in here, but hadn't been to a Sens home game in years. More importantly though, this experience shone a light on the fact that even though you may not have an intense excitement about something, there is always a way to find the fun and joy in it!