For the first time ever we have snow on the boat! Southern British Columbia is having one of the coldest winters that most folks can remember, they keep re-assuring us that this is not normal but it feels much like what we expected for a Canadian winter. 24cm of snow was recorded at Vancouver Airport, beating the previous snowfall record set in 1946! It started snowing last Friday and continued off and on until Monday evening. We have had about 5cm on the boat and have cleared the decks and the awning a couple of times. Luckily we still have power so we are keeping warm with a little fan heater. It is forecast to warm-up over the weekend – can’t wait for that!
Everyone in Canada is mad about ice hockey so, as part of our Canadian experience and to get deeper into the Canadian psyche, we decided to go and see a game. Despite the sleet and sludge we ventured forth last Saturday to watch the Victoria Royals were playing the Calgary Hitmen. It was a fast-paced game with the play switching from end to end before I could even figure out where the puck was. Players shove and trip each other and often crash violently against the Perspex barrier, just in case you’ve nodded off! Not much chance of that – we had ringside seats behind the penalty box so we were right where the action was.
The stadium was roughly two thirds full and the atmosphere was very American; a pervasive smell of hot dogs and popcorn, loud rock music at every break in play and cheesy entertainment with full crowd participation. At one point more people were watching who would win the free gourmet pizza than were watching the game! For some reason we expected there to be four periods so when everyone got up after three we just thought they’d all gone out for more popcorn. Anyway the Royals won 4-1and it was great to see the happiness and excitement on the children’s faces. Fast-paced, high-action, exciting and menacing – now I get why people here love hockey!