By Stephen Johnson
We had not been to an Ottawa 67’s game since Lansdowne Park had been renovated. The final weekend of Winterlude was the perfect time to visit. On Sunday, Febraury 15, I was pleasantly surprised by the moderate traffic on Bank Street and the ease of parking at Lansdowne. There were many parking attendants who helped direct the way to a parking spot.
Since it was Winterlude, there were impressive snow sculptures to be seen at Lansdowne. We wanted to try out the Lansdowne skating court and a free wagon ride but the -20 C weather persuaded us to check out the indoor farmers’ market at the Aberdeen Pavillon. There was a wide array of tasty treats and hot beverages to warm a person up. An added bonus was seeing a train vehicle that will be coming to Ottawa in 2018 as part of the light rail system. Our son, David, was excited to pretend he was the driver.
It was soon time to go to the game and I was interested to see if arena had drastically changed with the renovated Lansdowne. I was happy to see the kid-friendly atmosphere still existed. All kids were given a free toque and flag considering it was Flag Day. David enjoyed some of the kids’ games, including a bouncy castle, before we took our seats. The arena was similar to how I remembered it. The concessions seemed to be spruced up and the video display boards were of high quality.
David is not a hardcore hockey fan so likes to keep entertained with all the activities surrounding the game. He really wanted to be on television so had made up a sign saying Go 67’s. David sensed his moment of glory when REDBLACKS mascot Big Joe and 67’s mascot Riley the Raccoon started dancing to the song Cotton Eye Joe. Like a true performer, David took off with my wife, Sandra, in close pursuit. He started dancing with Big Joe. It just so happened David was wearing a plaid shirt making him look like Big Joe’s little brother! The ultimate moment came when Big Joe held up David’s sign and the camera crew were able to capture him and David dancing.
Once David had accomplished his goal of being on television, I was able to sit back and enjoy the game. The 67’s played at a good level and took an early 1-0 lead. The 1st period intermission was the perfect time to load up on a coffee, hot chocolate and brownie. When the second period started, David was actually interested in the game. He may not yet be humming the tune The Good Old Hockey Game but did seem to enjoy the action.
We stuck around to see the 67’s win a 3-0 decision over the Kingston Frontenacs. There are many restaurants and stores that you can visit at the new Lansdowne before or after the game. We briefly picked up some groceries from Whole Foods and were on our way back home.
I would like to visit some time when it is less cold and we can test out the ice at the Lansdowne skating court. The 67’s look like they will make the playoffs this year so another game could certainly be in our future. For the 67’s schedule, visit www.ottawa67s.com