This will be my third season following the NHL so I decided to start it in style - actually getting to see an NHL game live. I went to Berlin to see the Buffulo Sabres take on the LA Kings. Although it was meant to be a Kings home game the crowd was very much supporting the Sabres (and with two German players and an Austrian that makes sense).
The most people I've seen at a hockey game before is about 1,000 so the sellout crowd (14,300) at the O2 World was pretty cool to see. Lots of different jerseys about, and I saw a bunch of different Canucks jerseys. There were chants of "Let's go, Buffulo" "Christian Ehrhoff" and "Thomas Vanek" and possibly some things in German I didn't understand. I don't know if the mix of languages there had an effect but there were lulls in the noise at the arena. When I see my local team play, there's almost always cheering, chanting or whatever going on so it never really gets quiet. Maybe that's just the scale of the thing, I'm not sure.
From a Canucks fanpoint, it was really cool seeing a couple of our former players, in particular Willie Mitchell. And may I say his nickname - Big Stick Willie - well and truly deserved. I noticed Ehrhoff less.
The quality of hockey was well above that which I would see here in England but that's probably rather obvious. Ultimately it was an amazing experience, with a great, if sometimes quiet, atmosphere and I'm already itching for more. (Where are next year's Premiere games going to be?!)
And here, have some photos.