This week, I got to travel to San Jose, California for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final in a trip I won from Sportsnet's Be A Broadcaster contest at the Rogers Hometown Hockey stop in Swift Current, and it was an unbelievable experience.
I promised that I'd take lots of pictures :)
The trip actually started on Saturday when I got to take in Game 2 of the National Lacrosse League Champion's Cup Final at Saskatoon's SaskTel Centre, where the Saskatchewan Rush claimed their second-straight championship to cap off a very successful first season in their new home!
Early the next morning, my brother and I flew out of Saskatoon to San Jose, and went to our hotel in nearby Santa Clara, one of many cities in the Silicon Valley and the overall Bay Area of California. The area was a very busy place during our trip, with the Stanley Cup Final and game 2 of the NBA Finals between Golden State and Cleveland just 40 minutes away in Oakland, and the Copa America Centenario soccer tournament was also happening at Levi's Stadium, just a short walk from our hotel.
On game day, we got to see the Stanley Cup in person at our hotel, along with its handler, Phil Pritchard.
Before the game, we did some sightseeing along Santana Row (the Rodeo Drive of Silicon Valley) and San Pedro Square in downtown San Jose.
Then we went to the game at SAP Center, which was packed full with over 17,000 fans. The Sharks get a lot of support from the area at most of their games, regular season and playoffs. Mostly everyone at the rink was wearing a Sharks jersey, and there were a few Penguins ones too. My brother and I wore Maple Leafs and Canucks sweaters and people were asking us if we were lost, but we told them we were cheering for the Sharks that night. Everyone at the game also got free t-shirts, rally towels and a bracelet synced to your seat that lit up during the pre-game and stoppages in play.
The Sharks lost the game 3-1 and trail the series 3-1 heading to tonight's game 5 in Pittsburgh, but no matter what the score was, it was a game I'll never forget. I've been to a lot of hockey games and three NHL games, but there is nothing like getting to see the Stanley Cup final live!
Thanks again to everyone at Rogers, Sportsnet and Hometown Hockey for giving us this unbelievable experience!