A Visit to Hockey Mecca

Last week we took a vacation and headed out on a week-long road trip. It took us through a few hotspots, like State College, PA (We Are…), Punxsutawney, PA (off-season, but Phil is still available for photo-ops), and, ultimately, Toronto.

What else could welcome you to the groundhog capital of the world?

What else could welcome you to the groundhog capital of the world?

If you are not aware, Toronto is the home of that place of all hockey places, the Hockey Hall of Fame. And this was our first destination upon our arrival in town. Yes, we are a hockey-obsessed family.

I have to say that the place is pretty cool. The display outside the entrance was perfect for us as it was all about goalies. There were helmets from various goalies throughout the years and it was interesting to see how they have changed over time. Considering that early goalies wore no mask at all, even the early attempts at facial protection seemed like a good idea (although I could not shake the image of Jason in Friday the 13th).

Inside, there were jerseys galore and more hockey paraphernalia than I hope to ever have stashed in my basement. I did detect a Canada-heavy bias, but, of course, we were in Canada so I suppose it is to be expected. There were some fun interactive activities where my son could take shots from Gretzky and Lemieux or shoot on a virtual goalie. And, of course, there was THE CUP. It was housed in a separate part of the building and was on full display, as THE CUP should be. I almost heard angels singing when we entered the room (no, not really, but it’s a good image, no?).

I have to say, there is something about that trophy that makes it seem to shine brighter or stand taller than I expected. What was really cool was that we found the name of our friend’s father engraved on both the Cup and the Vezina Trophy (Denis DeJordy, Blackhawks ’61 – look him up if you ever head up there). It is really something to see all the names on there and on all of the other trophies on display in the room.

It was a worthwhile trip, even if it took up only a few hours of our vacation. What was even more fun, however, was seeing how hockey is such a part of the culture north of the border. We saw hockey players on buses, on lollipops, and on ice cream. Living in the southern part of the US, hockey can be very hard to find, so seeing it all over the place made quite an impression on my son and further cemented his love of the game.

Check! Now that destination can be taken off the list! Next up? Well, we really want to go on safari in Africa…

I wasn't kidding about hockey ice cream.

I wasn’t kidding about hockey ice cream.

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