After what seemed to be years of yapping and moaning about taking another trip to Montreal Canada, I finally did just that.  One of our bartenders (CHELSEA LATELY) was going to go there with a group of classmates for a student conference and we decided that this would be the perfect opportunity for me to make that long-awaited getaway back north.

So after taking care of a lot of last minute errands for the bar, we hit the road for what would be a six-hour drive through the lovely State of New York and into Canada.  Now I've been to Canada a few times now but never driven there, so I was somewhat intrigued for what I would be in for.  Let's just say that it wasn't the most exciting ride.  Then again, I had been up all night, between packing, doing staff payroll and just the sheer nervousness of oversleeping and missing my ride- I pretty much dozed in and out throughout the ride.

I did, however, wake up just in time to see that we were about to hit the US/Canada border and I was excited like a kid in a candy store.

We pull up to the border and I was expecting to see all kinds of security with guard dogs and such but alas, all we got was a kind lady sitting at the gate.  She asked for our passports and the purpose of our visit and we were on our way within minutes.  Pretty anti-climatic.

In any case, once we left the border gate, we were in Montreal in less than an hour.  It was overcast and  foggy but I didn't care.  All I knew was that I was back and excited to get my "vacation" started.

After reaching our destination, I bid adieu to CHELSEA LATELY and her crew and made my way to my hotel.  Once I checked in and got settled, I took to the streets and immediately began to take in the sights of the old neighborhood haunts of St. Catherine Street.  Now while am making it a point to do more exploring of the city this time around, I had to start somewhere and I figured that I may as well stick close to the Bell Centre, where I had a date with the Montreal Canadiens later that night, thanks to one of our great regulars, Vic Shaio.

I hit a spot called BRUTOPIA, which came recommended to me by one of our Canadian regulars and this place did not disappoint.  A tri-level brewpub that brews its own beers on the premises, it's located on the famous Crescent Street strip.  I got there just as they opened so I had the place pretty much to myself, which was fine with me.  I was able to chat with the lovely barmaid about the place, the various beers they had to offer, etc.

While this was taking place, I was anxiously awaiting a text from Vic about tickets for the Habs game that night.  Everyone knows that I LOVE the Montreal Canadiens and every time I come here, it's imperative that I go to at least one game at the Bell Centre.  That being said, it's almost IMPOSSIBLE to get tickets to a game, unless you're willing to shell out a couple hundred bucks for a regular season game.  I love the Habs, but not enough to blow my budget and eat Ritz crackers the rest of the trip.  I don't ball like that.  So I put out feelers to see what I could come up with and sure enough, Vic came through.  And when I say he came through.. HE. CAME. THROUGH.  He informs me that he put a call in to our mutual friend, SCOTT GOMEZ who plays for the Habs, who in turn, left me a ticket. . . IN HIS SUITE!  I shit you not.

As it turns out, Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta (both teammates here in Montreal and former teammates together in New Jersey) have a suite at the Bell Centre that they use for sick and underprivileged kids, in conjunction with the Montreal Canadiens Children Foundation.  It's called "The Scott and Brian Suite" and the suite is child friendly, complete with tabletop hockey games, snacks and they get a visit from the Habs mascot, YOUPPI (who almost caused me to have another meltdown, for those of you who know of my disdain of mascots).

So while I was excited to not only get a chance to go to the game, but to be able to enjoy the game in a suite was a bonus! However, the thing I really enjoyed the most was seeing the faces of the kids who if not for the generosity of two Habs players, would probably never get a chance to experience a game at the Bell Centre.  These kids were treated like kings by the Canadiens staff and it was really cool to see.  And the Habs played what might have been their best game of the season, winning 4-0, which was an extra bonus for everyone, myself included.

After the game, I hit the SPORTS STATION for a nightcap (or three) before going back to the hotel.  Very busy, loud boisterous sports bar.  Food-eh but it's a sports bar so you're not looking for "Joe Beef" quality here.  Beer prices were pretty decent though and they had Alexander Keith's Red, which was very good!  Going without sleep for almost 24 hours finally took its toll and I had a full day ahead of me so that was it for the night.

Got a lot to do and see today and looking forward to catching Habs vs Isles at McLean's Pub tonight!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice post (for a change)! Glad to see you're out and about.

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