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Rob's Road Blog: Back Home

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Home.

We touched down in the capital city shortly after 3 p.m. local time, putting a bow on a five-day road trip through three cities, two provinces and two time zones (three if you count EST). It was entertaining, enlightening, beneficial, and above all else, fun.

I was able to blog from each of the three western Canadian cities on the trip, hopefully giving you a bit of a peek into what it’s like “out there.” We started in Edmonton, Alberta, which is flat as the summer day is long, but it’s also a town that (for some reason) gets a bit of a bad rap around the league.

Yeah, yeah, so we spent 30 or so hours in Edmonton, but I thought it was a fine town and one that was a cool place to spend a couple of days.

This is the final season for Rexall Place, as you may have heard, so I was grateful to be able to see an NHL game there before the Oilers move into beautiful Rogers Place next fall. And speaking of Rogers Place, I got out of the hotel for a few hours before Tuesday’s game and walked to the new arena site…holy smokes.

It’s a gigantic glass palace with a practice rink attached (thanks to us trend-setters in Columbus!), new officers for the Oilers organization, and an entertainment district called The Ice District that should be moving into full swing over the next few months.

So the game didn’t go that well, but one last hurrah at Rexall Place was a neat thing to experience. There’s a lot of charm, quirkiness and history to that old barn.

And then, it was on to Vancouver. Quite possibly the best city on this continent.

Rain was a constant over our two-day span in “beautiful British Columbia” (that’s written on the province’s license plates, by the way), but it was hardly unexpected. Temperatures in the mid-40s made it easy to go out, walk around, check out the downtown waterfront on Coal Harbour, walk the Canadian Trail, check out Granville St. and Robson St., and just do the Vancouver thing – all while packing an umbrella, of course.

View more photos from the Western Canada trip HERE

I actually forgot the umbrella and was considerably drenched most of Wednesday but it was worth it.

The game started slowly at Rogers Arena but it certainly picked up in the third period. Cool to see Joonas Korpisalo get it done late in regulation, then overtime, and then a perfect performance in the shootout. Kid was impressive in all three games this trip, and unfortunately, he didn’t get much help in that second period on Tuesday.

The final stop was Calgary, what I would consider an underrated city with a neat downtown area known as “The Core.” We got into town late Thursday/early Friday (around 1:30 a.m. MT) so this guy made sure to get his sleep in, especially with no formal team activities until the 4:30 p.m. bus to Scotiabank Saddledome.

So with a little time to explore, I put myself together and headed into The Core for a brief tour de Calgary. Again, worth it.

Here’s my recommendation for those of you considering making a trip to watch the Blue Jackets play out west: first, you won’t forget it. Second, allot yourself some extra time – I’m talking days, not hours – to truly embrace and experience the cities you’re visiting. Let’s take Vancouver (personal favorite) for example: one day isn’t enough. Heck, two days isn’t enough.

Stanley Park, Granville Island, Granville St., maybe a trip up to Whistler for a day on the mountain (only 1.5 hours north of Vancouver)…and that’s just one day’s worth.

Hopefully you enjoyed my written and visual documentation of the Blue Jackets’ week in Canada. Winning two out of three ain’t bad, either.

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