If you have not seen it, watch the film Youngblood. Not just if you have an interest in Hockey, because it’s a good coming of age drama about a boy’s transformation into a man. Starring both a young Rob Lowe and Patrick Swayze, there’s enough interest there for the darlings aside from the hockey action, including a more than heated, matrass sex session.

On Tuesday night i attended my first ever Pittsburgh Penguins hockey game at the PPG Paints Arena and i was super pumped to finally get the chance to go.  I’ve been to hockey games before, but never at the team I’ve followed for years and years. My first memory of hockey or an interest in hockey was when i was sent a 3ft by 2ft plastic hockey rink with players on there controlled by metal bars and handles at each side, similar to a fusebal table. Its was sent as a gift back from Canada, right at the time of end of term at school, in the days when you got to take a game in on the last day. I was proud
as punch, cos everyone wanted to play it. it was different from Kerplunk, Bucking Bronco and the likes everyone else had.

Aside from the Spectrum 48k and 128k, that I suppose everyone had, Sega Megadrive was the games console i fell in love with and probably am still in love with. The two games i played all the time was the first ever John Madden football and Mario Lemieux Hockey. Lemieux is probably the greatest hockey player of all time and that includes people like Wayne Gretsky and the likes. From then on it was always the Pens Baby!

Aside from the NFL, it’s only in the last 5 years I would say that access to USA Sports, like Basketball that Roddy Bader tapes and watches; and hockey have become available to stream and watch in the UK, even it that’s at ungodly hours. And so it has been the case for the past 5 years I have been closely following the Pens and not, as some may suspect, the past 2 years they have been Stanley Cup Champions. Let me assure you I can regail you with stats about Jaromir Jageur and the likes, how we have performed and how the club has developed into the Champions they are now.

So Tuesday night. I head over to the area where the arena is before 12, but get on the wrong bus, then get off at the wrong stop and I’m some 1.5 miles away and guess what, the sun is shining and i have no sunscreen on, ffs! I quickly google maps, find my route which includes passing the St Agnes Church, it must be fate methinks. It’s a very poor area I’m walking throu, judging by the state of some of the locals, who are polite and courteous. First bar i find I’m in and having a Coors Light, my drink of choice in the states. I’m sure it would be busy later as its just about 1pm, yet she gave me a doozy aluminium cup that i want to pinch and i told the lass that.

I have a wander round to find my bearings. I know where I’m going and at what time, time to find a sports bar for the Real Madrid game, a right good scoop, some munchies and to soak up some atmosphere baby, it’s game day. A good warm up chatting to season tickets holders and the likes in the bar. Not many are confident of the win tonight. I wander up past the fanzone, the outside DJ that JB would love with the tunes he’s bursting out and I’m in, smooth as. A quick wander round the club shop, I’m looking for a zip up 3/4 fleece, but none in stock in my size, so i buy a beenie hat as a gift. In and up the stairs, where i get my rally towel and complimentary t-shirt, which wee mosie will get for being the competition winner.

I head straight to my seat to check my view and take a few pics. The seat is ace, a good choice, even if it was an expensive one. Back up stairs for some munchies and a few beers before game time. I have a mac n’ cheese on toast sandwich with fries and surprisingly it’s quite good. I think this could replace eggy bread of a morning. The place is buzzing, all sorts of fans, all sorts of tops and dress and I’m feelin good. I hit my seat as i want to there for  when they skate out.

Chap next to me with his wife and he does the usual, asks where I am from. We get chatting about whiskey’s, he is a member of a local club, where they meet every two weeks and it’s someone’s responsibility to bring a new malt and they all try it and hang out eating finger food. I regail him with a story about my Uncle Rusty and his ‘Scotch Club’, as my new friend put it and we discuss what he likes – Peatey Whiskey’s its seems. I jump onto the facebook and show him the pages of Jim Irvine and tell him what he does in his job and he’s interested. Seems like the club members sometimes have to travel a few states just to get a decent whiskey as they are not easily accessible in Pittsburgh.

The game is about to KO and the atmosphere is electric. They have a DJ and plenty of visuals to get you pumped and interacting throughout the game, which is a close one, even thought it feels like the Caps want it more. Murray is having an off night again, where he just cant handle the puck and so it was to be late in the 3rd period, Washington nick it and break my heart. Somehow I knew this was going to happen and if we beat them in the series, to be honest I will not mind at all. Secretly I will tho. Onto Thursday now and a second game. I have not made my mind up whether I will….

1. Try to get another ticket#
2. Go to the fanzone#
3.  Watch it in a bar
4.  Approach the neightbour of my Airbnb, who had a BBQ and listened to the game on 105.9 Pens Radio.

I am considering the latter, where I can have a day touring the city, get back at tea time and have a good scoop. My Airbnb has its own mini BBQ, so that could be an option for the big man. We seem to do better when i listen on the radio as opposed to watching. I’m just so glad i could get here and get a game in. you never know what might happen if life and if there will ever be another opportunity. There was a shooting today, just 2-3 blocks away from where I was having a late lunch and catching the Liverpool game. Life is wild.







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