When my daughter first went off to college in Ohio I told her we’d do a daddy/daughter hockey trip at some point and go see the Lightning play the Columbus Blue Jackets. Then the pandemic happened and the NHL schedule never seemed to align with travel plans. When the 2022-2023 schedule was released last summer it looked like an Ohio away game just wasn’t in the cards so we decided to go a little farther: Seattle. My sister is still a Kraken season ticket holder so she came here to Tampa to see the Kraken play the Lightnig back in December (we won 6-2), and then my daughter and I flew out to Seattle last weekend to catch the Bolts in the Emerald City.
I flew out direct to the west coast on Friday, arriving around dinnertime. My sister picked me up at SeaTac and on the way back to her apartment downtown we stopped to get some groceries for the weekend and also ordered pizza from Pagliacci Pizza (we tried the seasonal cauliflower and raisin pizza, which was really good!). I had to turn in early since I was tired from the jetlag and wanted to adjust.
Saturday was Super Wild Card Weekend for the NFL and the Seahawks were playing San Francisco. The Bucs didn’t play the Cowboys until Monday (same day as the hockey game) so I became a Seattle fan for the day. My sister and I tried to go to Buckley’s to watch the game but it was already full when we got there so we walked down the hill to the Queen Anne Beerhall instead and somehow managed to snag two seats at the bar. I hadn’t been to a watch party since before the pandemic so it was a lot of fun to be there with all the other fans. Unfortunately the Seahawks fell apart in the second half and lost to the 49ers 41-23. We thought about staying to watch the Kraken/Oilers hockey game at the beerhall but instead went back to my sister’s apartment and watched it there (cheaper beer! 🙂 ). The Kraken extended their hot win streak to 8, staying undeafeated in 2023, crushing the Chicago Blackhawks (my sister’s second team, ha!) 8-5 (6 goals in the first period alone!). After that we were able to switch to the other wild card game and witnessed the Jaguars stage an amazing comeback to beat the Chargers 31-30.
Sunday was a lazy day. With the Dolphins/Bills game on (which started at 10am our time, gotta love PST!) I assisted my sister with some around-the-house work, primarily fixing a shelf I had hung back in August when I helped her move in. During the Vikings/Giants game we did a lot of the planning and bookings for our upcoming Spring Training trip to Arizona (looking forward to getting back out to the desert after missing the past two years!). Later in the evening we drove out to SeaTac to pick up my daughter who flew in from Ohio, picked up dinner from The Golden Olive (mmmm, gyros and falafel), and then watched the Bengals stun the Ravens 24-17 (since the Browns are out and my daughter goes to school near Cincinnati, the Bengals are my second team in the playoffs, after the Bucs of course).
Monday: Martin Luther King Day and hockey day! I’ve seen the Lightning on the road a few times before: in Chicago in 2011 (when my sister lived there), in New York during the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2015, and then last year (March 2022) with my sister in Seattle during the Kraken’s inaugural season. So my away game record was 3-0 but my daughter had never seen the Lightning play outside of Amalie Arena. It was a 1pm game and we wanted to be there when the doors opened at Climate Pledge Arena so we left my sister’s apartment at 11:00am and walked to Seattle Center. There were a lot of other Lightning fans in line and it was fun chatting with fellow Floridians (we even met some fans from Alaska!) while we waited for the doors to open. This particular game wasn’t in my sister’s season ticketholder package so instead of being down in the lower bowl (the 000 level) we were up in the top corner (200 level) but they were still great seats. And even better, the Bolts ended the Kraken’s win streak beating them 4-1 (two empty-netters near the end) keeping my own away game win streak perfect. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see Steven Stamkos score his 500th goal in person (my daughter had a special poster all ready but the captain ended up getting #500 and a hat trick a few days later in Edmonton). After the game we drove out to Bellvue to visit with some friends and had dessert at The Frosty Barrel (my sister owed us ice cream for losing the game bet) … beer and ice cream flight! We got back downtown in time for me to see Brady and the Bucs lose terribly to the Dallas Cowboys, ugh (I’m guessing that’s it for TB12 in Tampa Bay).
On Tuesday my sister had to work so my daughter and I went downtown with her to get a brief tour of her office and meet some co-workers. Then the two of us walked to Pike Market (stopping in at the Seattle Central Library, which was pretty neat) for lunch and touristy shopping before walking back to my sister’s place. We were planning on going out to Discovery Park to do some hiking in the afternoon but It started to rain and got colder so we decided to just stay home). Our original plans also included making dinner at home and watching the Kraken play Edmonton before taking me to the airport (for the red-eye back to Florida), but my daughter requested we go out to a bar to watch the game (she was jealous that I got to do that on Saturday for the football game before she arrived). So we went to Buckley’s (which this time was not crowded), found a booth, and sat around having drinks, dinner, and watching the first period of the game. But alas, later it was time for me to leave so we walked back to the apartment, picked up my luggage, and drove out to SeaTac (my daughter wasn’t leaving until Thursday morning so she still had a day alone with her aunt).
Unfortunately I had a connection through Atlanta on the way home. My red-eye flight was supposed to leave at 10:30pm but we ended up pushing back from the gate almost an hour late due to a “balancing” issue (the plane was too heavy). I woke up when we started our descent into Atlanta around 6:30am and realized I probably wasn’t going to make my connection since it was going to start boarding in 15 minutes. I used the Delta app on my phone to re-book myself on the next flight out (an hour later), but the only aisle seat left was in the last row. A lot of people were missing connections so it took a while to get off the plane and I was glad I didn’t have to run. Funnily enough, though, my checked bag did make it onto the original flight so maybe I could have made it after all. At any rate, I eventually got to Tampa around 9:30am Wesnesday morning and found my bag waiting for me alone at bag claim.
Overall it was quite a fun daddy/daughter (and sister!) sports trip … and hey, go Bengals! (Who Dey?) 😉
(I’ll be back in Seattle in March to see the Guardians and Mariners on Opening Day!)