EDMONTON – Alright, yeah, yeah, it’s cold.
Ok, it’s not that bad. I’m being dramatic.
We kicked off this three-games-in-three-cities-in-two-provinces-in-four-days road trip on Monday morning with a 10 a.m. flight out of Columbus. Two hours later, we were on the ground in beautiful Fargo, N.D., so I can check it off the list of places I’ve actually been to that I never thought I would ever visit.
And 25 minutes later, after Blue Jackets Air got herself a healthy refueling, we were back in the air and en route to Edmonton, Alberta. I’ve been here before, kind of sort of, if you count the airport (which I do, kind of sort of) when I was trying to get to Vancouver as soon as possible for vacation.
The first thing I noticed on the bus ride from the airport to the hotel was “holy $#!%, the river is frozen solid.” And not just “we might be able to play a game of hockey here” solid, but like, you could possibly land an airplane on it.
I should have been wearing a sign that said “I’m American” because it was pretty obvious I’m not from around here. But I’m happy to report that I’m a fan of Edmonton. It’s perfectly Canadian.
Like when I went outside to take a photo of Rexall Place and a nice gentleman asked me: "Hey there bahd, are the Oilers still on the ice?"
"I have no idea. Maybe?"
"Alright thanks, bahd - cheers!"
Just like I dreamt it.
Oh, something else: our team hotel has a resident dog named Smudge. And Smudge also has a statue of himself inside the hotel lobby, for those times when you’re wondering if this particular hotel has a resident dog.
I’m hoping Smudge and Torts get to meet at some point before we leave.
After getting settled at the hotel, we headed to Rexall Place for an afternoon practice (4 p.m. local time). It’s cool for me to be on this particular trip and see the Blue Jackets’ final game in this building, because it’s one of the NHL’s most iconic. You see the banners in the rafters, the Wayne Gretzky statue out front and get the generally old-school vibe of the place, and you know you’re in a special rink.
And now, for the first of (hopefully) a few installments: FOOD REVIEW.
We had dinner at the Craft Beer Market downtown Edmonton, a few blocks from our hotel. Not only do they have 100 craft beers on tap but they have some really weird stuff on the menu, and I’m all about the weird stuff.
Exhibit A: fast food sushi.
It’s basically a cheeseburger and fries – cooked, mind you – wrapped in bacon and topped with pickles and jalapeno cream cheese, served like sushi.
Stand down, skeptics, because it’s ridiculously good.
Over the next few days, I’ll check back in and give you an inside look at life on the road. Hope this blog, and its subsequent mention of cheeseburger sushi, didn’t ruin it for you already.