Even though the current NHL season is on pause or maybe soon to be canceled or who knows what will happen, it has still been my absolute favorite NHL season so far! I was given so many opportunities to travel to games, see new places, and meet so many hockey friends! I wanted to share my top five favorite moments from this current NHL season!
5. The 2020 Bridgestone Winter Classic | Dallas, TX | Dallas Stars vs. Nashville Predators
Of course the Winter Classic made this list! I had been dreaming about the Winter Classic for most of my hockey loving years! I was very lucky with this Winter Classic because it was being played so close to where I live (within 3 hours) and wouldn’t require a lot of traveling, expensive hotels, and not knowing my way around the city, all during the holidays.
The highlights of this game were getting to see the Stanley Cup for the first time ever and getting to cheer along with 80,000 people when the Dallas Stars scored each time! My picture with the Stanley Cup is honestly one of my all time favorite pictures. The Dallas Stars goal song is my absolute favorite, and it was an incredible experience to get to scream and cheer along to it at an outdoor game! While the experience did not live up to my way too high expectations (can you say “horrible crowd control”?!), it was still a very memorable and special moment in the season and in my life.
4. Pittsburgh Penguins @ Dallas Stars on October 19, 2019 | My Parents’ First NHL Game
My mom and step dad come to visit Texas at least once a year, and in 2019, they decided to come visit in October. I sort of politely, maybe demanded that they come to Texas when the Pittsburgh Penguins would be here, so they could go to their first NHL game! It was so awesome. My parents have always been incredibly supportive (and somewhat confused) of my love of hockey, and I was so excited to share my favorite team with them.
A few days before the game, I tweeted that I was going to make a sign for my mom’s first NHL/Penguins game, and the Pittsburgh Penguins Twitter account replied to the tweet! (Yes, I did run around my house losing my mind when it happened.) They gave me a great sign idea, so I worked very hard on it, and me and my mom ran down to the ice during warm ups to show the team. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get a spot on the glass, but I got lots of compliments on the sign, and I SWEAR TO GOD Jake Guentzel looked at my sign!
During the game, my step dad disappeared for almost an entire period. When he finally returned, he asked me to give him back the souvenir puck he had bought for me (okkkaaaayyy) and handed me a warm up puck that he had stood in line to purchase during the 1st period! That was so special to me! That puck still sits on my bedside table (along with my warm-up puck from my first Penguins game).
Also… the Penguins won 3-0!
3. My first trip to Las Vegas and to see the Vegas Golden Knights
Earlier this year, I was given the awesome opportunity to team up with another sports blogger (www.thesportsbrat.com) and take a trip to fabulous Las Vegas for my first Vegas Golden Knights Game!
Some of my favorite things about the trip? There is SO MUCH TO DO! You don’t have to be a “Vegas person” to enjoy Vegas. There is seriously something for everyone, even me who loves walking around, eating, watching a show, and having an equal amount of relaxation. I also fell in love with lounges and speciality cocktails. And a Vegas Golden Knights game is something that every single hockey fan needs to experience in their life! While I love a laid back game, I’m also so amazed at the theatrics, detail, and passion the Knights and their team put into a game experience for every single person attending!
*Honorable Mention* Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Arizona Coyotes on December 6, 2019 | Phil Kessel’s First Game Back in Pittsburgh
This game and trip has a special place in my heart! It was my second trip back to Pittsburgh, and I was only there for a little less than 24 hours. Legit, I was checking into my hotel and I got the notification from my airline to check in for my flight the next day. I made a point to drive to Dallas, stay in a hotel overnight, and fly to Pittsburgh early on a Friday morning to be able to go to this game.
Pittsburgh during Christmas time was beautiful – Market Square had a great Christmas village filled with cute booths, a gorgeous Christmas tree, and outdoor ice skating! I went to a brewery inside of a church at lunchtime on a Friday and drank beer and ate the best BBQ pork sandwich of my life. I got to meet Hockey Twitter friends in person, welcome Phil Kessel back to the Steel City, and cheer on our Penguins to a victory! Fun fact: this is the only Penguins win I’ve ever seen in Pittsburgh.
1. (Tied) Opening Weekend Trip | Dallas – San Jose – Anaheim
Tied for first place as the best moment of the season was the most epic trip – the opening weekend trip! I went to three NHL games in three different cities in three days – insane and AMAZING! I started out in Dallas, where I spent the day at the State Fair of Texas with my friend, Becca, then we went to cheer on the Dallas Stars in their home opener against Boston. President George W. Bush dropped the puck at the game (still can’t get over how cool that was!) and it was an amazing day. In the spirit of insanity, I drove back to Austin that night to catch a flight to San Jose at 7am the next morning.
Friday was San Jose day. I got to relax in my beautiful hotel room, walk around downtown San Jose and eat delicious food, then got to take part in all of the home opening day activities for the Sharks! I got to meet and hang out with my friends Sheena and Mitchell, who were amazing hosts and made sure I had the best time. They introduced me to the Great White (my favorite beer), showed me around the Shark Tank, and bought me an ice cream sandwich after the game. The perfect friends! It was also amazing to be in an arena where the Pittsburgh Penguins had won the Stanley Cup!
Saturday was all about Anaheim. I spent the early part of the day with my friend, Tasha, at DISNEYLAND! After Disneyland, I met up with my friend, Rachel, (Hey, The Hockey Lady!) and we spent the time before the game interviewing Ducks and Sharks fans about their love for the sport and for their teams. The game was great, the pretzels were logo shaped and delicious, and the Honda Center became my favorite arena due to how many times they played Foo Fighters’ songs! Rachel was the best and took me to In-N-Out after the game, a perfect way to end a perfect day.
This trip was so special because I got to have so many new experiences and meet four Instagram/Twitter friends in person for the first time! All of those girls have become great friends of mine, and I’m so thankful I had the chance to hang out with them.
1. (Tied) Birthday Trip to Pittsburgh
Of course my annual birthday trip to Pittsburgh makes the top of my list! This was the second year in a row where I traveled to Pittsburgh to celebrate my birthday. Instead of traveling with my husband, Jimmy, this year, my friend, Delaney, from Georgia met me to spend the weekend with me!
Delaney is one of the best, and spoiled me so much during that weekend! My friend, Lindsay, made me the most PERFECT box of Pittsburgh Penguins themed birthday cookies – check out Whoos Your Baker! Delaney and I spent the weekend going to two Penguins games, eating lots of great food, and getting to meet and chat with so many kind, wonderful people. My friend, Heather, met up with us for beers on a Sunday afternoon, and I got to see both PNC Park and Heinz Field in person!
This trip was so special to me for so many reasons, but the main one was that I got to show my wonderful friend my favorite city in the world. We also got VERY LUCKY in that we were able to go to the last few Penguins games before the season was put on pause and everyone went into quarantine. Very thankful that I was able to celebrate my birthday in such a special way before things went crazy.
I was so, so very blessed to be able to travel a lot this season, be able to meet so many hockey friends in person, and be able to have made so many amazing memories! I do 110% believe that we can all make incredible memories even if we aren’t traveling. I could honestly write a whole different post about all the stories and memories from going to local minor league games or watching games on TV while sitting on my couch.
This season has been eventful to say the least! Who knows what’s going to happen in The Bubble during Playoffs, but I’m excited to watch!