Let’s face it hockey fans are as die-hard as they come and there are so many locations around the world that are connected to the game we love so much. If ever there were a bucket list of hockey havens, I would need to write a book. So instead I will present my top 5 of the many destinations every die-hard hockey fan must see; and maybe I’ll get started on that book! 😉
The Hockey Hall of Fame – Toronto
Established in 1943 it has been at its present location since 1993. The Hall is the ultimate hockey shrine for the diehard fan. There are 370 inductees including players, builders, and officials. The Hall also holds all the NHL trophies including the original Stanley Cup. There are exhibits including vintage jerseys, sticks, and equipment. In addition, there are films and an extensive research center for those looking to study the game’s history.
New York City – NHL Store
Here you’ll find everything you can think of for all 30 NHL teams and even t-shirts for defunct teams like the Kansas City Scouts and California Golden Seals. The best part of the NHL Store is what else goes on there. The league often hosts special events at the store and current players or stars from the past often stop by to make appearances. Commissioner Gary Bettman also records his weekly radio show at the NHL Store and many other NHL-related radio broadcasts originate from the studio located high above the retail area’s floor. This one needs to be on your bucket list ASAP!
Windsor, Nova Scotia
It’s been called “the birthplace of hockey” as the first written reference of the sport recounts a game of “hurley” on a frozen pond in Windsor, Nova Scotia. Today, the town is still proud of its past, as showcased at the Hockey Heritage Museum. If you want to see how the game is played right, make your travel plans around the Long Pond Heritage Hockey Classic, where hockey history meets hockey present. The Long Pond Heritage Classic offers hockey enthusiasts a historic opportunity to play Canada’s favourite sport on the pond where it all began, more than 200 years ago.
Gjovik Olympic Cavern Hall – Norway
Built in 1993 for the 1994 Olympics, the GOCH has a hockey rink, a swimming pool and is the largest facility of its kind (for public use) in the world. This is because the Norwegians decided to build their hockey rink into the Hovdetoppen mountain, instead of dwarfing the landscape. What this means is that all nine stories of the building are actually underground. Visitors here must actually go completely subterranean to watch a local professional hockey game. Seating capacity is well over 7000, but you’ll want to book early when there are tournaments on as the rink has been known to sell out in only a couple hours.
Ericsson Globe – Stockholm, Sweden
Often referred to as the Stockholm Globe Arena, this is the national indoor arena of Sweden and currently the largest hemispherical building in the world. Astonishingly it only took two and a half years to build and has a diameter of 361 feet and inner height of 279 feet. The Globe has been host to many NHL games over the years and regularly features many of Sweden’s top teams. And while taking in a hockey game here is a must, there is also the chance to ride to the top on the SkyView Gondola, which offers a fantastic view of all of Stockholm.