Hockey, hockey... and more hockey

by Julia Laporte June. 02, 2019 690 views

Because I couldn’t take my DSLR camera along, this post is not so much about the quality of the pictures, but more to keep folks from back home updated on what we have been up to.

We spent two weeks in Slovakia during the IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) World Championships and supported Canada with a passion (my husband and our friend being Canadian). As team Canada was posted in Kosice, located in the East of the country, that was our first stop. Hockey-driven tourists aside, upon our arrival it became very clear that the locals were fully on board with celebrating this event and the atmosphere was contagious.

The opening game in Kosice - Canada vs. Finland was a great game. Despite the pouring rain at the outdoor fan zone and a first loss for Canada, there were a few brave souls like us that stood our ground and watched the game intently on the large screen in the fan zone. Canada lost 1:3 in that opening game which slightly dampened our spirits. The situation worsened, or improved depending on your perspective, after I had gone home to get some sleep and my husband and friend just wanted to get that famous “last drink”. The Finns and Slovaks had such compassion for those few Canadians having made it out this far for the tournament, that they kept insisting on buying them rounds of drinks and green coloured shots. Needless to say, the two of them arrived back at our AirBnb around 5:30 am the next morning, feeling even less appreciative that Canada had lost. Naturally, after some strong coffee and a good breakfast they had recovered sufficiently to venture into town, once again ready for another day of hockey.

Overall our time in Kosice and Bratislava, the country’s capital, was fantastic. All the fans from so many countries were in such cheerful and positive spirits (no aggression could be felt whatsoever in the crowds). The main disappointment during those two weeks was that the IIHF did not do a very good job in restricting ticket sales. This meant that most games were sold out, with the scalpers holding the majority of the tickets, charging horrendous amounts over face value. More often than not, we had to watch the games in the fan zone or a bar, while on TV you could clearly see that the stadium was half empty, where a lot of hockey fans would have happily filled those seats for the original ticket price.

We watched the final of the tournament in Krakow, Poland, when it was once again a face off between Canada and Finland, with Finland deservedly taking the gold medal. What a fabulous tournament indeed!

As mentioned, there are not too many high resolution pictures in this post as I was not permitted to take my DSLR camera - neither into the stadium nor the fan zone. Since low resolution pictures generally fair less bad in BW, that’s what you’re mostly getting below, apart from the snapshots where colour seemed essential.

Ready to cheer

Ready to cheer

Adam, our friend watching the hockey with us, and myself playing table hockey at the Finnish fan club bar

Adam, our friend watching the hockey with us, and myself playing table hockey at the Finnish fan club bar

Myself, my husband, Esa Tikkanen and Adam

Myself, my husband, Esa Tikkanen and Adam

Myself at the fan zone on the first (and rainy) day

Myself at the fan zone on the first (and rainy) day

Just before the opening game, a helpful member of the IIHF handing out some rain ponchos

Just before the opening game, a helpful member of the IIHF handing out some rain ponchos

A few follow brave souls taking on the rain during the opening game

A few follow brave souls taking on the rain during the opening game

Running into a friendly Finnish fan who turned out to be Esa Tikkanen’s nephew

Running into a friendly Finnish fan who turned out to be Esa Tikkanen’s nephew

At the fan zone during the Slovakia - USA game on the first day

At the fan zone during the Slovakia - USA game on the first day

In Bratislava’s old town

In Bratislava’s old town

An installation of umbrellas in Bratislava’s old town

An installation of umbrellas in Bratislava’s old town

A bus stop in Bratislava celebrating the international spirit of the Hockey World Championship

A bus stop in Bratislava celebrating the international spirit of the Hockey World Championship

View from the UFO viewing platform in Bratislava

View from the UFO viewing platform in Bratislava

View from the UFO viewing platform in Bratislava

View from the UFO viewing platform in Bratislava

SNP bridge in Bratislava

SNP bridge in Bratislava

Underneath the SNP bridge in Bratislava

Underneath the SNP bridge in Bratislava

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Greg Blaney 1 year, 10 months ago

I really like this post. Gives a great glimpse into the excitement of the tournament and its European location. Nice photos regardless of the lack of DSLR. It's my desire to attend the Worlds in Europe one day. Looks like it would be fun. Too bad Canada lost angry

1 year, 10 months ago Edited
Julia Laporte Replied to Greg Blaney 1 year, 10 months ago

Thank you, Greg. I would highly recommend joining the fun and excitement of the World Championships to any hockey fan. Not being a hockey-aficionado myself and mainly having joined this adventure as a tag-along, I was surprised how much I got motivated and engaged in the spirit of hockey throughout the tournament. Winning the silver medal was no small feat for Canada, as they managed to remain #1 in the world ranking and my Canadian entourage did not actually expect them to get as far. So good job! +1

1 year, 10 months ago Edited
Rafael 1 year, 10 months ago

I miss Bratislava grinning

1 year, 10 months ago Edited
Julia Laporte Replied to Rafael 1 year, 10 months ago

We missed you! smile

1 year, 10 months ago Edited
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