I’ve spent a lot of time in Toronto. Leisure visits, countless in/out trips for work, a longer consulting engagement where I had an address and actually received postal mail for a period of time. I know Toronto well enough that on the Yonge-University subway line, for most of the downtown stations, I can tell you which subway car to get on so that when the train stops, you’re right across from the station exit you want. But up until this recent trip to Hogtown, I had never experienced the quintessential Toronto event – a Leafs game.
I had been in the ACC one time before for a Raptors game, but I still got to the arena early so I could look around. It’s a really great rink. I would soon learn that even from the upper deck, there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. I wanted to catch a little bit of the pregame warmup from a good seat, so I made my way down to the lower level:
I like that the ACC allows you down to watch the warmups in specific sections (no sneaking down required!). I spoke with a friendly usher who took this picture of me at ice level, right behind the Leafs bench:
I love the retired number banners that hang from the rafters here. Most rinks just have a number and a name. Here you get a photo as well. Seeing the Johnny Bower banner, I can imagine my dad (a former goalie himself) telling me “look there, he wore #1, the only number a goalie should ever wear”:
Here are the Leafs and the Panthers as the warm up gets underway. I hung around here for a few more minutes before venturing up to my seat and to grab a hotdog and an overpriced beer:
Here’s the view that an $80 face value ticket gets you. Pricey for being about eight rows from the back wall, but the view is the best I’ve had from the nosebleeds in any rink so far. The upper deck is severely pitched, so you’re not that far away from the action. All in all, I’m pretty happy with my seat:
During O Canada at Leafs games, they unfurl large Canadian flags on both sides of the arena – a red maple leaf flag on one side, and a blue one on the other:
Here is the first period underway as the Panthers take a shot on goal. By the way, I wasn’t intentionally getting the Leafs Stanley Cup banners in the frame. That last one from 1967 does kind of stand out though.
The Leafs started off slowly and fell behind 2-0 to Florida. From then on, it was pretty much a dominant game for Toronto. They scored the next five goals, and the outcome wasn’t in doubt much past the first few minutes of the third period. Here is the crowd celebrating the last goal of the game to salt away a 6-3 win that sent everyone home happy:
Although it was a little late in my Toronto experiences to see my first Leafs game, I had a great time and glad I could check this one off my list. Now I need to finally get to a Canadiens game!