Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Rec Hockey Tournament in Phoenix / Scottsdale

Each year my rec hockey team heads out to bring our middling hockey and advanced partying skills on the road. I don't always go every year, but when I can make it happen it's magical. In past posts I have documented Montreal, Chicago, and Las Vegas (no pictures!).

This year our extended group consisting of 2 teams and approximately 30 guys selected the Phoenix Cup in Scottsdale Arizona for this years tourney.  Below are some of the highlights. The lowlights will live in infamy through multiple re-telling in the dressing room.

Arizona Diamondbacks Game

My journey to Phoenix started with a 4am wakeup and over an hour long drive in the densest fog I have ever seen. Upon arriving at the airport I passed through all of the security checkpoints, which included a Grant Fuhr sighting, and arrived in the airport lounge for a much needed drink. Soon enough a couple of my teammates arrived and we settled in to wait out the fog and finally depart. 

After several aiport/airplane morning beers we arrived in Phoenix shortly before noon. With 5 guys and equipment traveling together we made the choice to load up a limo as opposed to multiple cabs. After an endless drive to the hotel and back downtown we arrived at the end of the 1st inning at Chase Field.

The Diamondback were starting the always entertaining Bronson Arroyo against SF Giants. I settled in with a beer and a dog to watch some ball.

As good as any game is I find it difficult to sit still for an extended amount of time. Eventually I wandered around to take in the sights including the pool in mid center field. 

Everywhere in the stadium I kept on running into other Canadians. With so many fellow countrymen in attendance it seemed almost fitting that Captain Canada himself, the mulleted wonder,  Ryan Smyth would make an appearance at the game.  After watching multiple groups of people approach him for a photo a couple of the guys made the ask for a picture and he generously acquiesced.

I snapped a picture and set up to take another one when another Oiler (Perron?) asked if I wanted to get in the picture. Without thinking and almost instantaneously I replied, "No thanks, I am a Redwings Fan". Smyth, gracious as always just looked at me like I was the world biggest asshole but he bit his tongue.

Final score of the ball game: 8-5 Giants.

Show and Shine

The people of Phoenix love their cars. With everything so spread out and with optimal driving conditions year round it is easy to see why. Apparently on the weekends there are multiple meet ups and show and shines of all the hot cars. While all were impressive I was truly stunned to see a Bugatti. But I guess if I had one I would show it off too.

Oilers Game

Included in our registration for the Phoenix Cup were tickets to a Coyotes game. As luck would have it for our Edmonton group, the Oilers were the nights opponent (explaining why Smyth was at the ball game). We upgraded our ticket from regular seats and packed our 30 guys into a concourse corporate box. The view of course was fantastic.

 Being a jerk who refuses to cheer for the Oilers I sported my 'original' Coyotes logo.

Final score of the hockey game: 3-2 Oilers in a Shootout

Old Town Scottsdale

A mere billion mile cab ride from our hotel was the premier tourist district of Scottsdale - The Old Town, a district of pretty fantastic restaurants and night clubs. Individually and collectively our team hit up the area on multiple nights where I enjoyed getting free Jagermeister poured down my gullet by living mannequins at Shotgun Betty's and some fine tex mex lounge food at Ricky's Taco's and Beer. But by far the most memorable place was Giligan's Bar which owns the term of best midget bar I have ever been to. My buddy Galen and I hit it up one night in between golf cart rides for some life size Connect 4, Jenga and the infamous Wheel of Booze. 

We spent $7 for 3 shooters and spun the wheel to see what we would drink.

I ended up with a shot that I didn't recognise and I waited patiently as the bartender headed to the kitchen to mix it. The bartender eventually came out with a thick orangish substance in the glass which I assumed was orange juice concentrate. He then poured some Jack Daniels into the glass and passed it on to me. Without thinking too much about it I picked it up and poured it down. Much to my surprise and disgust it turned out my drink was nothing but a raw egg mixed in with whiskey.

I held it down.

The Hockey Tourney

Both of our hockey teams fared pretty well in the tournament with both losing out in our respective championship games. Seems about right based on the nights before...

Hitting the Links

As any self respecting hockey team that loses out we took solace on the golf course. It seems weird that to escape the depressing and dusty landscape of early spring in Edmonton we ventured  to a lush desert setting. But, that is exactly what we did, and it was fantastic. Our foursome at the Ahwatukee Country Club decided to play scramble style and ended up doing pretty good with a score of around -9 over 18 holes. Pretty good for the first round of the year.

We even had a par 3 where we all hit the greens. I probably won't golf better all year.

Next Year?

While I enjoyed the trip down to Phoenix / Scottsdale I don't think I will vote to go back next year. I like hitting up a new city and prefer a more dense urban environment where I can explore on foot as opposed to multiple cab rides. But really, I'll go wherever as long it's with the same idiot hockey buddies.

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