Sure, it may be something that in Los Angeles we take for granted. Every single Los Angeles Kings practice is not only open to the public... but also free. But here in Stockholm, some 1/2 way around the world... apparently that business practice does not apply. Look... I have it easy. I'm a super rich, white male. So I can easily afford to take off at a moments notice and fly to Europe to follow my favorite hockey team through Stockholm and Berlin. But for the 5 people I met today... people who had actually paid for the AAA Los Angeles Kings Europe Tour... only to have every event that was Kings-related cancelled... they don't have it as easy as me. So when they wanted to go see the Los Angeles Kings practice in person at the Ericsson Globe... how were they met?
"Sorry, folks. Practice is closed to the public."
So 5 amazing and dedicated Kings fans (6 if you count myself) were turned away and told "no, we don't care if you traveled to the moon and back... practice is closed to the public." And they just left us outside in the cold... like we were animals.
So instead, we did what every other red-blooded American hockey fan who has been told they can't sit in the crowd and quietly watch their favorite hockey team practice does... we went on an amusement park ride!
Everywhere I look, something reminds me of her.
Sure, it wasn't watching practice... but apparently it was good enough for other high-ranking members of the Kings brass. So we rode in a giant clear sphere to the top of Ericsson Arena... and you know the most unbelievable thing we saw?!?
Kings fans from Italy!!!
That's right... these two young gentleman had made the trip from Italy to not only see the Los Angeles Kings play in person... but to specifically see Anze Kopitar in action. In fact, they told me that if it were not the Kings... they wouldn't have made the trip to Stockholm. We talked for a few minutes about hockey in his home country... how the Italian League is not very good... and how the most popular player in Italy is Roberto Luongo... but they weren't big fans of his. Here we were... 6 fans who had flown out from Los Angeles to Stockholm to see the 1st game of the NHL season... and yet WE were amazed that someone would fly 3 hours to see Anze Kopitar. Our Italian friends were very knowledgeable about the Kings and were very interested to hear our thoughts on the team for this season. They too had been denied entrance to practice... and boy did it ever look like we would have been interrupting something important! But the best part of all... 130 meters above Stockholm... we did get to see practice. Kinda.
Seriously... that's the NHL Premiere logo from the top of the Ericsson Globe.
So after getting breathtaking views of Stockholm from high up above...
... we all headed our separate ways. And all that was left until 7pm Friday, Stockholm time, was people on the street talking about the Kings - Rangers game.
"Can you believe Penner is out with a groin pull?"
"Of course I can... he's Dustin Fuckin' Penner."
Sure, hockey may be starting RIGHT NOW for you people in North America... but it doesn't start until tomorrow night for me. Everything else is just practice.
If you are in the general Stockholm area for the game Friday night... we are trying to get some Kings and Rangers fans together for a pre-game at The Falcon bar, located just outside the Skyview entrance at the Ericsson Globe. Come one, come all!