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Road Trip Journal: Vancouver

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
Michael Smith

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It’s really a shame that we only get to travel to Vancouver once each season. That begin said, we got to spend five nights in the city this year. Here are some things that happened (and some food that I ate).

We arrived in Vancouver late on Friday, Oct. 24 after flying out of Edmonton, our third time zone in a matter of five days.

Saturday, Oct. 25, was a scheduled off day, and I had my eye on Meat & Bread, an aptly named sandwich joint, for lunch. The porchetta sandwich was predictably delicious, and I was in love. Pictorial evidence of the scrumptiousness is below.

The original Meat & Bread shop is in Gastown, a part of town that saw us put in a decent shift while in Vancouver. We also frequently ventured into downtown, where popular clothing establishments lululemon and Roots were located.

Watching sports on the West Coast is an interesting experience. On the East Coast, a morning practice followed by locker room interviews and typing up a practice report or the like would set the table nicely for a full afternoon of football. In Vancouver, the 4 p.m. games were already in full swing by the time my work had wrapped up for the day after a hard-skating, Sunday morning practice.

We took in the late afternoon football games at Steamworks Brewing Company, right on the cusp of Gastown. I found the restaurant notable for its tasty beverages and appetizers – and the credit card acceptance. Discover, a respected league sponsor, informed me that they have “growing acceptance” in Canada. That became a running gag because the only establishment in the country that accepted my Discover card was Steamworks. So, well done, Steamworks.

I was back in Gastown on Monday night, Oct. 27, to eat dinner at Save on Meats, an old-school diner attached to a butcher shop. I had to get the burger, because how could you say no to the restaurant’s “legendary” menu item that is ground fresh daily? You can’t.

We were back at Meat & Bread, their second location in downtown, on Tuesday after the morning skate. Just as good as the first time, and John-Michael Liles agreed.

I’m realizing a lot of this journal has been about food. For good reason, though. The food was mighty delicious in Vancouver.

But let’s talk about the weather now. That was the only downside of our time in Vancouver. It rained every day we were in the city except for Sunday. Alas, it is the Pacific Northwest. Positioned right on the harbor, we had a good view of sea planes taking off and landing on the water. Also of note: the floating Chevron station and the Digital Orca right outside of the convention center.

Onto the hockey! I really enjoyed Rogers Arena. It opened four years prior to the then-Entertainment and Sports Arena in Raleigh, and it has aged quite well. Their game presentation is pretty solid, especially considering the on-ice projection, the illuminated and color-changing stanchions and the projection screens lowered in each corner for pregame and intermissions. But with all that’s good technologically, there was also the WiFi, which was an absolute disaster on press row. I’ve made a note to bring an Ethernet cord with me next season.

In attendance at Rogers Arena was Brody Sutter’s dad, Duane, though he was playing the role of professional scout for the Edmonton Oilers. No cheering in the press box. Cam Ward’s father, Ken, was also in town, and he’s quite a nice fellow. Always a pleasure to see him.

***

That puts a bow on the team’s 10-day road trip to Canada. Vancouver is an absolutely beautiful city, even if the weather doesn’t always cooperate.

Upcoming road trips include Columbus, Washington and Boston in the first half of November. Stay tuned for more tales (and pictures of food) from the road!



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