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Avalanche in the bubble

Bubble Hockey: The difference between watching an Avs game in the building as opposed to on TV



EDMONTON, ALBERTA – I watched a couple of playoff games on TV yesterday and have occasionally in my now 31-day stay in Edmonton. The one thing I’ve been amazed by: how absolutely different the atmosphere is on TV as opposed to being in the building.

It seems like the real thing on TV: fast-paced hockey, lots of excited chatter by the announcers, lots of piped-in crowd noise that sounds like the real, live thing. In the building? Complete, 180-degree difference.

There is a weird crowd noise button that the building people press when there is a big scoring chance or a big save or some kind of other ruckus involving the players. But it’s different from that of the TV crowd noise. In the building, it sounds kind of like a giant wave crashing onshore or something, or a big whoosh of air.

On TV, when play stops, graphics flash and replays rolls and the announcers keep up the chatter. When play stops in the building, it’s mostly dead silent. They do play some music at times, and the “home” team gets an occasional “Let’s go (blank)” from a pre-recorded video feed on the jumbotron, but it seems ghostly, creepy almost.

On TV, after periods, they go to the studio where lots more excited chatter and analysis happens, with more flash and dash. In the building, it’s dead, dead silent. There is no music, nothing on the jumbotron. You can hear the workers on the ice as they take off the nets for the Zamboni, and when they re-attach them. In the concourse right outside where I sit, there is just one lone usher, sitting in a chair, trying to stop him/herself from going crazy I would imagine. There is nothing for them to do really. No fans to take to their seats, no fights to break up, no spills to clean up. It’s just….me, in the entire section of the concourse where I sit. Sometimes, I have Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch sitting near me, but usually not until late in the Avs game, as the Blues always seem to get the late starts. Jim and I are IT for any U.S. hockey media presence here in Edmonton. Kudos to the Post-Dispatch for sending him. Lots of media outlets talk a big game, about how far they’re willing to go for the customer. Well, I think we’ve seen how much hot air that is in these playoffs. (If that seems a little harsh, so be it. As I said, plenty of sports media companies talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk when it comes to spending money on travel).

For people watching on TV, and that is almost all of you reading this, I’m happy for you. I’m glad it’s a seamless experience from what you normally see (for the most part). If you’re in the building though? It’s a totally different world.


Speaking of travel: I think I need a new place to stay: I’ve been at this airbnb the whole time, and for the first three weeks or so, things were great. Plenty of room, a location right near the arena, an “eclectic” neighborhood. But in the last week, much of my body has been eaten alive by honest-to-god bed bugs. I’ll spare you any gruesome pictures, but right now much of the skin on my legs – but some on the upper body too – have big fat red welts on them, and they are from bed bug bites.

The entire building had an outbreak. The building was fumigated by a professional, but I can tell you that the bugs are still here, alive and kickin’. I woke up to one this morning on my pillow, and the little critter was moving around just fine, probably after a night of feasting on my blood. I gave him one final moment before smashing him to dust.

I really don’t want to move on from here. I got a good deal, and the location is so perfect. But I can’t take the bugs anymore. I think the building might actually get condemned, or at least that’s the chatter from a couple of other tenants.

Sooo, I need to look for another place. This is assuming the Avs win this series, of course. That would keep me here another three weeks, minimum. (If the Avs choke this series, then I’m on a plane home in a few days).

I think the local apartment/airbnb owners have jacked up their rates of late, because of the playoffs being here (even though there’s no media except me and Jim and the players are all in bubble-protected hotels). So, it might cost me a pretty penny to move.

You know me, I don’t beg for anything. But, hey, if you want to contribute to the Avs Travel Tip Jar here, I won’t stop you!


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