Bill's Bubble - Life in the NHL Bubble
Well, we did it! The NHL pulled off what most people thought was impossible. We completed the NHL playoffs in about 66 days, with not a single case of Covid (for a mere $75 to $90 million, if you believe Twitter sources). There were nine of us off-ice officials from Edmonton and Vancouver who were so very fortunate to be a part of the Edmonton Bubble. I have to pinch myself to realize how lucky I am and be certain this was not just a Canadian hockey dream.
Being one of few people in the arena to actually get to watch the Stanley Cup finals live was simply amazing! The Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to have the edge in most games, but you have to give the Dallas Stars credit for their innate ability to bounce back, and not quit….although their tank did seem close to empty in game 6 after 550 events in a double overtime game 5 win. It was very special seeing family members on the ice celebrating the Cup win with players and coaches, after getting to join the Bubble for the finals. Although winning the Stanley Cup is a ‘once in a lifetime’ achievement for most, Pat Maroon became one of only 5 NHL players to have ever won the cup in consecutive seasons with two different teams.
I thought it would be appropriate to wrap up these Bubble reflections with a few highlights from my Bubble experience, in no particular order:
- our one hour private session with Lord Stanley’s Cup – the stories that cup could tell!
- witnessing professional athletes in a relaxed atmosphere, away from media and fans
- having fantastic food prepared by some exclusive chefs … courtesy of the NHL
- shooting hoops with Dr J, and kicking a 35 yard field goal
- achieving mutual respect with the NHL on-ice officials for the professional work done by both groups
- getting free Timmies daily … without waiting in line!
- watching the US Open on the mega screen in ‘The Yard’ – in the biggest man-cave ever!
- understanding the freedom that is part of our great country, and gaining a new appreciation for some of the sacrifices of those men and women serving overseas
- looking forward to Covid nose vs throat testing days, and knowing that I was in the safest place outside of Fairbanks
- reading a few books, sometimes while walking the Rogers Place concourse level or the field at Commonweath Stadium
- being a part of hockey history, and the countless memories that I will cherish forever
And maybe a few things to consider if I get to go into the next Bubble:
- take advantage of the exercise facilities to achieve a DeChambeau transformation
- not only handle, but kiss the Stanley Cup
- make the Bubble pet friendly, as I certainly missed my Chloe
- bring a belt that does not shrink…must have been the dry humidity…
Thanks to those who have followed my weekly updates and been a part of my special experience, and to Nigel and Mike for suggesting the Bill’s Bubble idea. I hope that you have enjoyed some light reading, as I certainly had fun sharing some of the Bubble stories, from the inside.
One of the fellas put together a Google slide presentation, which I can share with you. Although I do realize that some of the content would fall under the caption “you had to be there”. Please send me an e-mail if you would like me to share it with you.