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NHL in Helsinki: Panthers at Blackhawks

3 October 2009 No Comment

Even though my plane was on time I did not arrive at the hotel until 5 pm. After checking in, I left for the game immediately which started at 7 pm. In order to get to Hartwall Areena, I took the train from the main Helsinki train station to the Pasila train station (the first stop after the main train station). I paid for my ticket (2 euros) but quickly realized that there was no reason to buy one since nobody would actually check my ticket on such a short journey. I arrived at the arena shortly before 5:30 pm.

Pre Game Dining
There was nowhere to eat around the stadium. It was just a stadium in the midst of train tracks since we were so close to the Helsinki train station. Since I needed to sell three tickets to the game I did not have time to eat anyway but I would be sure to eat downtown tomorrow night.

Selling Tickets
As with any game that is not sold out I expected to receive less than face value for the tickets (97 euros each). However, another factor was involved that I did not expect – most fans attending the game had already purchased tickets as well. This meant that it was even more difficult to sell the tickets for the game. Not to mention the fact that there were about a dozen other fans trying to sell their tickets as well. Using most of the tricks I know from buying tickets, I tried to make as much money as possible selling these tickets. I ended up receiving 40 euros each for the tickets after spending about 90 minutes trying to sell them.

Hartwall Areena
Hartwall Areena is a regular European arena – there did not appear to be anything special. As was the case when I attended hockey matches in Prague in 2001, you can buy beer from the concession stands but cannot drink it in your seat. However, to get around that rule you can buy beer from the Silver Star Café. If you have a good spot in the café you can watch the game and buy drinks from the bar.

The Game
In the first regular season NHL game in Finland, the Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers went to overtime and a shootout. Ville Koistinen, the only Finnish skater on either team, scored the winning goal in the shootout to give the Panthers a 4-3 win.

The Blackhawks had 55 shots on goal and was the only game I have ever attended where a team had 50 shots on goal in regulation time. I have only seen a team have 50 or more shots on goal twice before and both of those games were overtime games in the playoffs.

1) May 8, 1996: the Colorado Avalanche had 57 shots versus the Blackhawks in a three overtime playoff game.
2) June 6, 1995: the Detroit Red Wings had 51 shots versus the Blackhawks in a two overtime playoff game.

The attendance of 12,056 seemed low for the first regular season NHL game held in Helsinki. However, the low attendance was probably due to the fact the ticket prices for the game were ridiculously expensive with the cheapest ticket being 97 euros and it only went up from there.

Post Game
After the game I took the train back to downtown (no ticket this time) and went back to the hotel to go to sleep.

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