Life in Ireland

My first hockey game: Belfast Giants vs. SG Cortina

Jeff and I had been planning to go and see a ice hockey game for long. I had never seen one, and I was very curious to see a game live. In spite of not being a typical European sport, Belfast has a ice hockey team – the Belfast Giants – that regularly plays at the SSE Arena twice or three times a week. Today, and only by chance, I had a look at their calendar and I discovered two things: 1) Italy has a ice hockey team called SG Cortina (never heard of them) and 2) They were to play in Belfast this evening against the Belfast Giants.

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It was enough to make us book the tickets. For the occasion, I wrapped myself in the usual multiple layers and we left. At 6PM we were already at the SSE Arena, at the Titanic Quarter, just a 10-minute drive from home. From the parking lot behind the Arena there is a wonderful view over the pier and the Titanic Museum. We took some quick pictures, and then we walked to the front to collect our tickets from the box office. Luckily enough, we didn’t have to wait long to enter the Arena.

Once in, the arena was still mostly empty. We found our seats – ice level – and we patiently waited for the show to start. For me, even the wait was exciting: the warm up, the starting show and introduction of the players, the cheerleaders… all things that for me only existed in the American movies.

One of the things I immediately understood was that getting decent pictures of the players from the position of our seats was extremely difficult: the players moved at such a speed that most of the shots were moved or blurred. It was a great photography lesson.

I truly enjoyed the game, even if I soon realised that the Italian team was clearly inferior to the Giants. There was no real match, and the second period, in particular, was extremely dull, with the Italian team always in their half and playing in defence. The third period was definitely the most exciting, with some good actions and a little bit of rough play. In the end, Italy lost – no surprise… after all, the only ice we were made for is ice cream.

What I know is that we’ll go back – probably to see the Giants play with some opponents that can make them sweat a bit and to see some real game. If you want to see what it was like, here’s a short video… Pity for the background music, that went on and off apparently with no reason, leaving long silent moments during the competition.

I can’t wait to see a North American match!

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