Ottawa. It often gets a bad rap, doesn’t it? “It’s boring.” “It’s a government town.” “There’s no nightlife.” “There’s nothing to do.”
Well, while I do not hold any of those beliefs, I can also sometimes see where the critics are coming from. But, this weekend Ottawa is anything but boring. You can feel the city virtually pulsing beneath your feet. And perhaps, because we do often get overlooked when it comes to glitz and glam – No Toronto International Film Festival, no Vancouver Olympics, hardly any celeb spottings – this weekend, it seems all the more special.
The 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend has landed itself in the Nation’s Capital, bringing a game we love, and those that play it expertly, to home ice.
The draft, a playground-style selection of who plays for who’s team, was held last night in front of a rowdy hometown crowd. Loyal Sens fans booed any Maple Leaf that crossed the stage (brraap!) and even ex-Sens like Zdeno Chara and Marian Hossa had trouble pleasing their old groupies.
But Alfie, as one of the team captains got lots of love, and all four Sens All-Stars landed on the same team which promises to make the ambiance in the ScotiaBank Place Sunday afternoon, absolutely electric.
However, it’s not called All-Star “weekend” for nothing. A whole host of events are planned from now until then. The dismal weather making many of the outdoor events re-routed from the Rideau Canal to the City Of Ottawa’s new “Rink of Dreams” (thank GOD they built that $250,000 thing, eh!?!?), and a full day of skills competitions tomorrow.
But for any young hockey fan, the real question is where will the All-Star studs flock to after hours. Chances to mingle with hockey idols in the flesh seems like a tangible possibility and with every bar claiming they’ve got the “OFFICIAL” after party … it seems impossible to know where the boys will be headed.
As in a nutshell’s chief nightclub correspondent, what have I been told? Well I can tell you there is a GOOD chance that the NHL’s leading men will be sipping on bottles in my bar. But, this is not about self promotion.
What I’m really here to say, is if your weekend plans do not include hitting the market, you need to make some adjustments.
While it’s certain that some players will have obligations to some bars, I think it’s foolish to think that all 40 will land in the same spot for the entireity of an evening. I predict some club hopping and while every bar (because contrary to popular belief, Ottawa has A LOT) will get a sprinkle of the hair flowing, toe-dragging, teeth missing magic, more than one definitely will. So your best bet is to pick your favourite spot, don your best outfit, keep your cool and prepare for the chance to share a drink with a (multi-millionaire) celeb.
Even if you’re not a huge hockey fan, bar lover or celeb chaser, this weekend is something out of the ordinary. And the excitement of it? Contagious.
And if you’re still not convinced? Well then I never want to hear the words “Ottawa” and “boring” come out of your mouth again. Kapeesh? If that’s your choice, well then you, my friend, are a little boring. Not my city … in a nutshell.