Monday, November 05, 2007

30 days, 30 Arenas, 30 Hockey Games

My new hero, Steve Williamson, is living the dream.
He began a journey last month that will take him to a game at each of the league’s 30 arenas in 30 consecutive days.

“Putting the whole thing together was kind of Rubik’s Cube-ish,” Williamson, 49, said last Monday from his seat at Madison Square Garden, where he watched the Rangers defeat the Lightning in the fourth game of his whirlwind tour. “But this is one of those rare N.H.L. seasons where everything on the schedule lined up perfectly for me.” [...]

“A lot of people have the ability and resources to do something like this over a longer period of time,” said Williamson, talking as he snapped photos of the Garden scoreboard with his iPhone. “But I wanted to take that challenge one step further by doing 30 arenas in 30 days.”

By the end of the tour, Williamson will have traveled about 30,000 miles and spent about $10,000 on airfare, car rentals and hotels. (He said he would cut costs by staying with relatives and friends along the way). That estimate includes the price of his authentic No. 30 Lightning jersey, with a message sewn on the back: 30 games in 30 nights. He wears the jersey to every game, washing it by hand whenever his schedule allows.

“Steve is a master at logistical organization,” said Pete Williamson, 37, who met up with brother Steve at the Garden. “When he first told me about this trip I was like, Huh? But then it kind of sunk in. I know that if anyone can do this, Steve can.”

Williamson, a divorced father of two teenage boys, is chronicling his experiences on his Web site .

He spoke last Monday about “meeting knowledgeable hockey fans in an old-school hockey atmosphere at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit,” and enjoying Cheli’s Chili, which is owned by Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios.

“It’s nice to know that when Chelios is not busy slashing opposing forwards, he’s whipping up a nice pot of chili for the fans,” Williamson said with a chuckle.

He also said, referring to the game he saw in Los Angeles, that he “admired all the glitz of the Staples Center, and all the pretty girls that go to games there.” He got around to talking about the fish tacos at Honda Center in Anaheim — “I won’t do that again,” he said, chasing that remark with a gulp of beer — and about Rangers fans being “among the smartest and most loyal in hockey.”

“In Tampa Bay, it took our fans a while to learn the game,” Williamson said. “I remember back in 1992, our first season, when Chris Kontos scored four goals in one game. When he got the hat trick, some fans who threw their hats on the ice were escorted out of the arena.”

Williamson said he got the idea for this trip in 2001, when he flew 11,000 miles round trip from Osaka, Japan, where he was working at the time, to California, to see the Lightning play in San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim.

“Since then, I have wanted to climb a bigger mountain,” he said. “I know that bad weather and late arrivals and departures are going to be my main obstacles here, but I’m going to do this.”
You can see how Steve is doing with his ultimate puck trip through the NHL on his >>> website.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, how cool is that! Living the dream for sure.