The #NationVacation to Arizona was incredible

1 month ago
What a weekend. There’s just no other way to describe our first-ever #NationVacation to Arizona to watch a game in a rink so small it was almost strange to believe it was happening. The people, the game, the weather, the memories… it was all fantastic, and I want to thank everyone who joined us this weekend and our friends at Alberta Blue Cross for helping us put it all together.
When I got to the airport on Sunday morning at the unholy hour required for our flight, it was hard not to notice how great the vibes were while everyone was waiting to board the flight. I saw team merch, I saw NationGear, and I saw a group of people who were ready to have a blast in parts unknown. There were familiar faces, new friends, and a group that was undoubtedly ready to have a good time.
If you’ve never been never joined us on a Nation Vacation before, the whole point of the weekend is to hit the road, follow the team, and make some memories with the best Internet friends you never knew you needed. And this time around, we made our way to the desert to watch the boys play in the league’s tiniest rink.
After landing in Phoenix and everyone got their bags together, the next clue that we had an amazing crew rolling with us was that the first order of business was to stop the bus for refreshments before we got to the hotel. Before we had even seen where we were staying, a bus full of people invaded this tiny little shop and stocked up for the weekend. It was great, and the memory of the lineup to pay will probably make me chuckle for a good while.
Once we got to the Embassy Suites, we had some time to kill before our rooms were available, and it ended up being a blessing in disguise. The way the hotel was laid out allowed for everyone to gather in a central courtyard and get to know one another before we were able to settle in. On top of that, the hotel had a complimentary happy hour that we were sure to take advantage of.
Loaded up with crackers and pocket cheese for the road, the group made its way to Top Stroke — Tiger Woods’ mini golf spot — and it was an absolute blast. Mini golf is a good time every time, but this round was a different animal entirely. As expected, the course was a lot of fun to begin with, but that we were doing it as a big crew made night one all the more special.
On Monday morning, we made our way to Devil’s Advocate to watch the boys host a live pre-game show in front of a bar full of Nation Citizens who were pre-gaming and excited for puck drop. As always, the boys put on a great show, but it was especially fun to watch trip-goers get in the mix and join in on the content.
Not only were we there with group that flew down with us, but we met Nation Citizens from all over the country. It was so much fun to hear how everyone consumes our content, and how we all had the same idea that seeing the boys in that environment was a bucket list item. In every possible way, the vibes were fantastic.
Show wrapped and equipment stored, we took the quick walk to Mullett Arena, and it was fantastic to see how many Edmonton fans were gathering before puck drop. There were jerseys everywhere, chants kicking up, and the spirits were high as everyone was visibly excited to check out the rink and get the game started.
Once the puck dropped, it didn’t take long for the road fans to take over the building after 29 opened the scoring in the early moments of the first period. From that moment onward, you could have sworn that we were back home to watch the boys and not a three hour flight away. Outside of that brutal second period, the rest of the time was spent high fiving, screaming, and kissing in some cases.
Trying to eyeball it, it had to be about 60/40 Edmonton fans in that rink but even saying that seems light. Watching the highlights back this morning, you’d swear that 75% of that place was dressed in blue and orange. It was a home game on the road, and I’ve never seen anything like that in my life. As far as hockey experiences, going to a big league game in a rink that small that felt more like a home game than a road game was an experience that I’ll never forget.
I want to thank the amazing people that joined us on this trip. Thanks to all of you, this weekend was so much more than just a trip to the desert to watch hockey. This was an opportunity to take our little corner of the Internet on the road, and the result was beyond our wildest expectations. We told stories, we told jokes, we laughed for two straight days, and we got to do it face to face for once instead always being behind a keyboard.
This whole trip was about making memories, and I couldn’t think of a better example than what happened these past few days in Scottsdale. Lastly, I have to say thank you to the fine folks at Alberta Blue Cross for helping us put this trip together. Without partners like them, there’s no way the #NationVacation can happen and we’re very grateful that they came aboard to help us get to and from the states with ease.

Check out these posts...