We were in the USA when England Rugby played its semifinal in Japan at the 2019 Rugby World Cup so the match was held at 3:30 AM Florida time. The timing didn’t deter my husband from getting up to watch the game and whooping in delight when England won (even though I was asleep in the same hotel room). Sadly for my husband, my son is forced to play rugby at his school and he loathes it. My son does love hockey though and my daughter is obsessed with fencing. We tried to get tickets to the Japan 2020 Olympics for both hockey and fencing to no avail.
For sports fans, the journey is following your team through years of heartbreak and disappointment until one year, the stars align and suddenly they are an unbeatable force that wins the league. Following a team through thick and thin requires the camaraderie of a group of fellow supporters who are with you on the journey, sharing the triumph and disappointment together. Some devoted England Rugby fans don’t care how much the tickets cost (or how much it costs to fly to Japan) but they are making it to the finals in Yokohama somehow someway. I should be glad my husband only insists on watching it on television no matter what time the game is shown.
Hockey, whether ice hockey or field hockey, is a sport loved all around the world. Ice hockey is played mostly in places wintery climates, with some of the biggest hockey loving countries including Canada and Russia. Therefore, hockey can present some fantastic opportunities to travel across both Europe and North America.
Here are some opportunities to see the world through ice hockey:
Toronto For The Hockey Obsessed Traveller
As well as being a beautiful city, visit Toronto with an eTA, the home of the Maple Leafs NHL team. Canadians love their hockey, with many engaging in sports betting on the games, covering everything from who will win the game, to whether it will end in a shootout.
As well as hockey, visitors to the city will be greeted by its beautiful harbour and views of the CN Tower, which dwarfs everything else around it.
Tours to Niagara Falls are available from Toronto, providing the opportunity for you to watch the astonishing natural phenomenon of 750,000 gallons of water crashing down the largest waterfall on the content.
The city is also filled with parks, museums, culture and many gastronomic delights.
Moscow Hockey Teams
Russia is hockey powerhouse, winning the Euro Hockey Tour seven times. With three major hockey teams in the city and another within the Moscow Oblast region, watching Moscow hockey teams will definitely delight any visitor.
In addition to catching a few KHL games in the city, you’ll love exploring this massive time capsule. The vast Vystavka Dostizheniy Narodnogo Khozyaystva “exhibition space” is a giant open air park, filled with beautiful pavilions, giant statues, fountains, space rockets, a small theme park and a huge aquarium. It’s even the retirement home of the former Soviet space shuttle “Buran”, which never actually flew a complete mission.
The centre of the city contains the legendary Red Square, St Basil’s Cathedral and the history-filled Kremlin, as well as some fantastic photo opportunities.
Adjacent to Red Square is the famous GUM shopping centre, similar to Harrods, you’ll find many luxury brands and tasty delights. The central areas of GUM are usually decorated with season displays or exhibitions, meaning that it’ll be different every time you go.
When you want to escape some of the hustle and bustle of the city, head over to Gorky Park where you’ll be surrounded by beautiful greenery and get to see how Muscovites relax – walking, roller skating, running, cycling or just sitting together exchanging stories. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, Gorky Park is a favourite spot with the locals.
Finnish Hockey Teams in Helsinki
The Finnish capital of Helsinki is another great city to catch some great hockey action. The city has two Finnish hockey teams: Jokerit and HIFK. The former plays in the international Kontinental Hockey League, while the latter is a founding member of the Finnish domestic league, Liiga.
The famous Helsinki Cathedral is a must visit. Sat at the top of a set of stone steps, the external area of the Helsinki Cathedral was the backdrop for the music video of the famous 90s dance track, Sandstorm by Darude. The Cathedral’s high position means it towers over the rest of the city’s skyline and can be seen from most of its areas.
The Esplanadi is a strip of green space in the city centre and is a favourite with locals. During the summer it is packed with people having picnics and relaxing amongst the nature.
For those looking for a more “white-knuckle” experience, the Linnanmaki theme park has a range of roller coasters and thrill rides, including the country’s tallest and fastest coasters.
Combining hockey and travel creates a fun and purposeful way to visit parts of the world that you may not have previously considered. Perhaps if you have a hockey mad partner, it is a way to convince them to visit some of these places.
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