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If you show up drunk, don't bother showing up at all.



Before I start, I just want to express how excited I am that the Sedins will be Canucks for the next 4 years :)

As a (poor) student living in Saskatchewan, I've never had the opportunity to see an NHL game. In the few opportunities where I've been in Vancouver or Calgary, I've either been too busy to go or there haven't been any home games while I was there. So when my brother pitched the idea of going on a road trip with he and my Dad to Edmonton to watch the Oilers play the Leafs (they're both diehard Leafs fans), I was incredibly excited even though I knew I'd be really sore after a 5 hour trip there and back.

We got to Rexall Place around 6PM (an hour before game time). We toured the arena, got some food and watched the pre-game skate; all was well. About 10 minutes before game time, some 'overly enthusiastic' Leafs fans took their seats in the row in front of us. It was obvious from the moment they walked in that they were drunk. As the game started, they almost immediately began harassing other fans; some were Oilers fans, others were wearing jerseys for other teams. I didn't wear my Canucks jersey because I anticipated these things happening. Back to these fans; they had a pint of beer at each intermission to keep the 'adrenaline flowing'.

As the game progressed and the Leafs started racking up a healthy lead, there seemed to be a tipping point; they started swearing even more (it seemed to comprise over a third of their vocabulary), and would occasionally jump up during the play which made the people behind them mad because they couldn't see. Not wanting them to ruin our family trip, we ignored them. The same can't be said for everyone, though. With about three minutes left in the game, one fan beside us finally had enough and stood up to one of the guys, told them to 'sit down or he would make them sit down' (not the best choice of words). The guy immediately turned around with an 'oh yeah?' kind of face and punched the guy right in the nose. They tangled up while other fans tried to pull them apart. People and beer were flying in all directions, and it took security a solid 5 minutes to get there. The Oilers fan who confronted this Leafs fan had a pretty solid black eye after the whole ordeal. They only kicked the Leafs fan out (I hope he got arrested) because it was obvious that he was the aggressor in the situation.

I was talking to one of the event staff who said he had noticed the fan for most of the game and could have called a supervisor, but most of the security staff were busy breaking up other fights so it wouldn't have done much use. I don't doubt that those other fights involved situations that were similar to the one we experienced.

Whenever the Leafs or Habs play on the road, there are always a healthy contingent of fans that show up to the game (think Vancouver in Phoenix/LA/Anaheim). If they live in the area, it's probably the only time they will get to see them play all year. Add alcohol into the mix, and you're just asking for these things to happen. Arenas try to curtail this by not selling alcohol after the 2nd intermission, but I don't think it does much good. It's really unfortunate that teams have to sell alcohol to make money because it really takes away from the atmosphere.

So please, if you're going to show up drunk at a game, don't bother showing up at all.

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