When the hubby and I lived in the Washington, D.C., area, we became hockey fans. It's a great game, I swear. Its main problem, aside from over-expansion into the U.S., but that's a discussion for another time, is that it just doesn't translate on TV.
To really appreciate the sport, you've got to go to the game. And we did. We soon were season ticket holders of the Washington Capitals.
We were there when the team made it into its first playoff game ever. We still have the goofy certificates the team's marketing department passed out as we entered the arena.
We cheered Rod Langway as he became the first American player to win the Norris Trophy for the NHL's best defenseman.
We saw Scotty Stevens' first game, watched him grow from the over-aggressive "Bam Bam" into one of the league's premier players and cheered when he became a multiple Stanley Cup champion. Unfortunately for Capitals' fans, Scotty's championships were with the NJ Devils.
Being devoted hockey fans, we went to training camps in Hershey, Pa., and, of course, we had to travel to the sport's birthplace to revel in the game alongside true, aka Canadian, believers.
One trip was aboard the Caps' private charter. That was great, except for the fact that we had to tell the team's travel secretary our weights. I guess if there were too many of us, or too many of us were carrying a few too many pounds, the flight would have been canceled!
We saw the old Hockey Hall of Fame and the shrine's great new facility in downtown Toronto. We visited in the winter, enduring a surprise, even for natives, blizzard in Toronto, but that didn't matter once we settled into our Gold seats at Maple Leaf Gardens.
We made it north in summer, too, where one July the temperatures were even hotter than those we left in the U.S. And yes, we converted Celsius to Fahrenheit correctly!
Dollar vs. dollar, eh? During all those visits, one of the great side benefits, was the value we got for our U.S. dollars. At one point, our $1 bills emblazoned with George's portrait got us almost 30 more cents against the Canadian dollar, known as the Loonie for the etching of the loon on the coin.
Not so now. Last week, the Loonie was acting as crazy as its namesake. It hit a 30-year high against the U.S. dollar -- 91.94 cents, almost on par with the U.S. currency. This CBC report provides more details.
The currency issue is not so good for Canuck businesses that rely on U.S. tourists. But you shouldn't necessarily let that dissuade you from visiting. The country has a lot of great attractions, even for folks who, unbelievably, aren't hockey fans.