Guest article by LeAndre

Yes indeed, I’ve been waiting for this moment for 19 long years and boy it feels like the wait is almost over! Tonight is the first official NHL game in Stockholm Sweden between the Ottawa Senators and the Pittsburgh Penguins. While I support Chicago, I was still extremely excited about this game.  In Europe, we watch games all winter long following the NHL as any other fan in Canada or America does. So why shouldn’t we have the privilege to watch a few live games a year? It surely won’t hurt anyone will it?

 

As soon as my brother and I got to the stadium, we were on the search for hockey cards. We thought this is an NHL game; there must be tons of merchandise for sale. We looked everywhere and we found jerseys, hats, jackets, pucks, sticks anything and everything you could think of; except of course hockey cards. We were so disappointed but it surely wasn’t going to ruin our night.

 

There were thousands of people there all ready for the game. Only about 20 percent of the crowd had Penguins or Senators jerseys on. I spotted people mainly in Leafs, Red Wings, and Montreal jerseys! With 30 minutes to go before face-off, the atmosphere was building rapidly. You could even see the joy on my face. It felt surreal…to have Sidney Crosby, Jason Spezza, Evgeni Malkin, and Dany Heatley 25 meters away from me felt awesome. Sitting quite close to us was Mats Sundin and also not too far away the great Mario Lemieux!

 

The game has finished and by no means was it a great game. Nevertheless, I loved every minute of it, the occasion meant so much more to me than the actual performance of the players on the night. For the last 6 years, I’ve been setting my alarm to 1 am Swedish time just to wake up and watch the games. For once, I didn’t need to do that as the game that I love was being played right in front of me, and guess what? As soon as I got back from the game, I bought 2 boxes of cards online. Ahh man…the things hockey does to my finances; unbelievable.

 

I hope that plenty more NHL games are played in Sweden, as I think it’s only fair. Sweden has produced so many great players such as Salming, Sundin, Forsberg, and Lidstrom just to name a few. But please can someone let the NHL know that next time they should bring some cards. Imagine the feeling of breaking a box of Upper Deck The Cup inside the stadium, 10 minutes before the game in your seat just a few yards away from your NHL heroes. The cost of 2 tickets: 150 dollars, the cost of a puck, four cokes one beer, sweets and, a few burgers: 65 dollars. The feeling of watching a live game? Priceless!

Till Next Time; someone tell the NHL not to forget the cards at home!