There’s something magical about the All-Star Game.
You wouldn’t think it, given that the whole weekend, at its heart, a bit of a money grab for the NHL. (HAVEN’T YOU TAKEN ENOUGH FROM ME, GARY BETTMAN??) To be perfectly honest, Team What’s Icing showed up in Ohio for All-Star Weekend expecting to have a bit of a party in the streets of Ohio’s capital city, spend unholy dollars on terrible, TERRIBLE merch (ELITE GREEN???? Guys.), watch some incredibly hungover millionaires do fancy stick things, and observe goalies slowly giving up all hope for goodness and joy in this world.
When we stumbled out of Nationwide Arena on Sunday evening we found ourselves standing under the fairy lights of the arena district, fresh snow dusting our shoulders, wondering what in the hell had just happened.
The thing is, the real beauty of the All-Star Game is the bubble it creates in the heart of the host city. For a few days, everything is about the sport we love (more than is really rational), the players we’ve never met (but care for like they’re our own family), and the fellow fans we can strike up a conversation with (knowing they’re just as invested in this whole crazy ride as we are). More than any other NHL event, the All Star Game really does make you feel like you’re just part of a big, weirdly obsessive family.
And somewhere in that weird little bubble that lasts for one weekend a year 1 you also might run into Tyler Seguin on a street corner at absurd-o’clock at night. Possibly.
The point is, you never know. And it feels, a little bit, like anything could happen.
With that, here’s Mollyhall with the top ten weirdest, coolest, and downright magical things that did happen to Team What’s Icing over All-Star Weekend.
The 10 Most Magical Things That Happened To Us at All-Star Weekend
1. Don’t tell Ella I’m saying this, because she’ll be all like “omg Mollyhall you’re soooo embarrassing, stop embarrassing me in front of my friends,” but THE WHATSICING GIRLS GOT TO BE TOGETHER AGAIN.
As I’m sure anyone who has moved out of their hockey hometown can tell you, being away from the fans that make up your fan community–whether it’s your family, your hometown, your local dive bar, your fantasy hockey league, or just your particular hockey city–is hard. I mean, look, I live in Chicago and I’m not a Hawks fan. DO ANY OF YOU KNOW WHAT THAT’S LIKE?
The answer is “the worst,” and even though Ella insists that the Hawks are “her precious sons” and she doesn’t understand why I “have to bring this kind of negativity to the goddamned dinner table,” it’s still always the most magical treat to be able to sit next to her at a CBJ game or related event and have her hold my hand when the people next to me start talking shit about Marc-Andre Fleury.
Like????? I came here to have a good time and now I have to commit homicide??? IT DIDN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY??????
“Mollyhall, please find some chill. It’ll be okay. Remember that you’re big, they’re little; you’re smart, they’re dumb; you’re right, they’re wrong, and there ain’t nothing they can do about it.”
Thanks Ella. Never go back to California. NEVER GO BACK TO CALIFORNIA.
Spoiler: she went back to California, whatever.
2. At 2a.m. on Saturday night (…Friday night? Saturday night. I’ll be honest, it kind of all blends together.), friend-of-the-podcast Montana and I met Tyler Seguin on a random street corner. What a perfectly apt place for a person like me to meet a person like Tyler Seguin.
He was very polite. When I asked him, “If we find Patrick Kane, will you fight him?” he did indeed offer to text Mr. Kane, before remembering that it was 2 a.m. and that was probably a rude thing to do. Then we high-fived and he drove away in what I think was an Über car. Or Tyler Seguin just lowkey car-jacked a guy, but that seems unlikely.
COULD YOU IMAGINE HOW GREAT THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN, THOUGH? TYLER SEGUIN FIGHTING PATRICK KANE, NO REASON, ON A STREET CORNER IN COLUMBUS?
We could have had it all, Tyler.
3. We expanded the NHL back into Quebec.
At our Very Fancy What’s Icing & Company Post-Skills Competition Steak Dinner (I had a salad, which made the waiter look at me funny. “This is a steakhouse,” I could see him thinking. LOOK, SIR, YOU DON’T KNOW ME, OKAY.) we were playing the “Would You Rather Play For ___” game.
Then we realized that The Nuge was also in the restaurant just a few tables away from us. In deference to his feelings, we renamed the Edmonton Oilers the “Quebec Nordiques” for all future rounds, which I think made the staff think we were hardcore francophiles.
“Quebec is a passionate hockey city,” Ella argued. “And you’d get that NHL paycheck.”
“YES, BUT YOU’D HAVE TO PLAY FOR THE NORDIQUES AND NEVER WIN,” I howled. “WOULDN’T YOU RATHER BE POOR AND HAPPY THAN RICH AND TAYLOR HALL?”
We take this game very seriously.
4. Our hotel room was essentially the warehouse for shop.nhl.com. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA how hard it is to decide what t-shirt to wear? How will people know who I love?
How will they know that I’m wearing a Pens henley but I’ve got my Ovi sweater in my purse and under everything I’m wearing a Subban t-shirt to shame the NHL for not inviting him? If I wear my hilarious Brandon Prust t-shirt that’s really about Alexander Galchenyuk, will people get the joke???
(Of course they won’t. Brandon Prust and Alex Galchenyuk probably would not get the joke. BUT TRUST ME, IT’S HILARIOUS.)
You don’t understand the agony of picking merch to wear until suddenly everyone you love from every team you’re even remotely interested in is present and your whole heart bubbles up in your chest because you HAVE TO REPRESENT ALL OF THEM. THEY HAVE TO KNOW YOU LOVE THEM. THEY HAVE TO KNOW THAT YOU DON’T NECESSARILY WANT THE HABS TO WIN THE CUP OR ANYTHING, BUT YOU DO HOPE THEY HAVE PERSONAL SUCCESS. JOHN TAVARES, I DON’T HAVE ANY OF YOUR MERCH BUT I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS, OKAY? OKAY????? OKAY, JOHN TAVARES??????
5. Shoutout to R-Bar in Columbus for giving Montana amazing free tickets to the All-Star Game! Who knew that being polite to bartenders could reap such fruitful rewards?
Everyone did. Literally everyone. Stop being rude to bartenders, Drunk Sports Fans. THERE IS A REASON WHY EVERYONE THINKS WE’RE THE WORST. It’s because we’re the worst.
BE POLITE TO YOUR SERVERS.
6. The Ovi sweater met its inspiration! Sort of.
Ella and I went down to the glass to watch warmups for the All-Star Game and I wore my Ovi ugly sweater. Ovi seemed to be nursing a bit of a headache, but he did see it, and gave me a nod. I like to think this nod meant, “Ah, yes. You understand what my soul looks like. My soul right now hurts a lot because I didn’t win a car.”
I’d also like to point out that this sweater has gotten me more compliments in my short time of owning it than literally any other article of clothing that I own. THANKS, OVI. BE GOOD, OVI.
7. COLUMBUS DID SUCH A GREAT JOB.
You guys, you guys. Columbus did SUCH a great job. The Fan Fair was amazing, downtown is just the right kind of walkable that post-event going out was fun and easy and not stressful, and so many CBJ fans turned up. People talk so much shit about Columbus, as a city and as a hockey town, but I think this weekend really proved that it’s not only a viable market but it’s a good market, and a growable market.
NONTRADITIONAL MARKETS FTW.
8. Is there anything better than seeing a Coyote jersey, a Habs jersey, an Islanders jersey, a Sharks jersey, and a Pens jersey all hanging out eating french fries?
I mean, I know we all have our own histories and loyalties and let’s be honest, probably you’re never going to see two fans in a Giroux jersey and a Croz jersey breaking bread and calmly discussing ice sports, but the All-Star Weekend was kind of a reminder that there’s more at stake in sports than just what happens with your team. Especially in the U.S., where football is king and people for some reason watch golf. I don’t know … there was just an awesome sense of community.
Give me a second. I’m getting weepy. IT’S FINE.
9. Ella was basically invited to join the Blue Jackets’ roster.
Friend-of-the-podcast The Blackhawks Fairy introduced Ella to Nick Foligno as “the girl who made that hugging video of you and Bob,” and Nick Foligno LIT UP LIKE A CHRISTMAS TREE, talking about how much he loved it and how his sister sent it to him and how it was the best thing in the world, basically. Kind Dad Nick Foligno loves Ella now. They’re best friends. The adoption papers are surely going through literally as we speak.
10. WE HUNG OUT WITH THE STANLEY CUP, MOTHERFUCKERS.
PS: This also happened, which is the only good thing the LA Kings have ever done for this world.
barring lockouts, olympics, and the general desire to take nice things away from Columbus ↩