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bet365 Travel Diaries: The Nation is represented in Florida

Amerent Airlines Arena
Photo credit:Baggedmilk
baggedmilk
1 month ago
It was a long travel day to get to Florida, but after seven hours on a plane and a four-hour layover in Toronto, I finally landed in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday afternoon with just enough time to meet up with the boys and crank out some content before heading to Amarent Bank Arena for Game 1.
When I left Edmonton late Friday night, I wasn’t really sure what to expect in terms of how many Oilers fans would be making the trek to Florida for the first two games. There was some Edmonton merch on my red-eye to Toronto, but I’d also assumed most people are smarter than me and made their way to Sunrise earlier than the day of Game 1.
Once I got to Pearson Airport in Toronto, however, it wasn’t long before I started noticing a whole lot of blue and orange wandering around the airport. From hats to tees to people wearing their jerseys, it was hard to ignore how many Oilers fans were heading all over the world, including my flight to Fort Lauderdale.
Seeing so many friendly faces going to the same place as me made me so excited to see how many of us would be in Florida. Everybody knows how well this fanbase travels, so why would the Stanley Cup Finals be any different? If anything, I’m the idiot who should have never expected anything less from my fellow citizens.
As tired as I was by the time I finally got to Fort Lauderdale, there was no time to do anything except get hyped up for the game. My body wanted me to sleep, but my brain wanted to get the party started. And after finally meeting up with Jay, Tyler, and Liam — we all were on separate flights due to our own crazy schedules — getting a nap in before puck drop was the last thing on the table.
With a few hours to kill before the game, we made our way to a bar called Yard House for a few pops and what we saw when we walked in was truly remarkable. There were Oilers fans everywhere you looked, and the place was packed with blue and orange — it was a beautiful sight, honestly. The vibes in that bar were electric, and I cannot wait to get back there tomorrow before Game 2.
After a few bevies and a quick snack, we made our way to the rink as a group and it was so much fun to hear the Let’s-Go Oil-ers chants ringing out all around the rink. Once we got inside, it was hard not to notice how many Oilers jerseys were around. If I was to guess, I’d estimate that I fist bumped 200 people on our first lap around the main concourse.
For my first time at Amerant Bank Arena, I was very impressed. The rink itself is super cool, there are vendors everywhere, and they also had this really cool outside lounge that allows you to go outside for some air if you want. Since we got to the rink as early as we did, we had plenty of time to explore the rink and the place did not disappoint.
When it comes to Panthers fans, it was pretty funny to hear how often we got asked if we were actually from Canada. It was almost like they were surprised that we would actually fly down from Edmonton for the games because it was clear that the inverse will not be happening. But as we know, Oilers fans travel incredibly well and Game 1 was the ten thousandth example.
Another thing I got asked quite often was how about the atmosphere. By no means was the arena anywhere near as loud as it is back home, but Panthers fans were absolutely into the game, and they made plenty of noise. If I were to compare it to the other three rinks I’ve been to in the playoffs so far, it wasn’t as loud as Vancouver but definitely louder than L.A. and Dallas. It was pretty easy to see how much they care about their team, and how excited they were that their team was back in the Stanley Cup Final.
Even though we didn’t get the result we wanted, the start of this trip to Florida has been fantastic so far and will only get better when the boys even up the series tomorrow. We know the Panthers will be better than they were in Game 1, but I also think the same can be said about our boys too. No one said winning the Stanley Cup was going to be easy, and now we’ll just have to wait and see how the boys respond to what is pretty damned close to a must-win situation in Game 2.

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