So the NHL released its schedule for the 2014-2015 season (Hooray!!!!!). It’s always one of my favorite parts of the off-season. Why? Because I get to plan road trips to see the Philadelphia Flyers play. It’s my goal to one day see a Flyers game in every NHL arena.
Of course, I’m a broke college kid. So when I say “Hey, the Flyers play in Montreal on this date. I’m totally going,” it means “Hey, the Flyers play in Montreal on this date. I can’t really do it but I’ll picture it in my head and maybe I’ll win the lottery and oh who am I kidding, I can’t afford a cheeseburger.”
But I can help you plan your own little road trip for this season. There are some good opportunities this season to see some great cities along with your favorite hockey team. And these are some that stand out to me.
Flyers Florida Swing: October 30 and November 1
Halloween weekened + Flyers + Florida = Fun.
So when the Flyers play the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers on the road, they usually do so in back-to-back games. They’ll start on October 30 in Tampa when they head to the Tampa Bay Times Forum to face the Lightning. Tampa has a nice arena with a lively atmosphere on game day. I’ve been to the arena three times (two Flyers games and a playoff game this past season), and it is a good place to watch a hockey game. They have an outdoor bar outside the arena, as well as music and activities before the game. Inside the arena is pretty cool. They have a giant video board, a standing room only area by the organ, and Tesla coils that light up before the Lightning take the ice and when they score. Tampa is also a really cool city. There’s a lot to do, like walk around the beautiful campus at the University of Tampa, take a drive to Clearwater Beach (only 20 minutes away), and go to Busch Gardens among other things.
Make the three hour trek down from Tampa to Sunrise, which is right outside Miami for a Nov. 1 clash with the Florida Panthers. What I would love to do is get to Miami by Friday night and go out for Halloween. Halloween in Miami with the bars and clubs? Yes please.
Saturday, head to the BB&T Center for the second of the two games in Florida. Flyers fans normally pack the arena to make it a de facto home game for the orange and black. I can’t say much in detail as I have not been to this arena, but would love to get down.
This road trip is perfect for a nice, long weekend to go to Florida as the weather around Philadelphia starts to worsen. And tickets for both the Lightning and Panthers are among the cheapest in the league through the team and on the secondary market. With so much to do in Florida, this trip is certainly a good one for Flyers fans to make.
California Love: December 2 (San Jose), December 3 (Anaheim), December 6 (Los Angeles)
The Flyers will play three games in California in December. They’ll hit up northern California and the HP Pavillion Tuesday, Dec. 2 for a tilt against the San Jose Sharks. The next day they get to head to SoCal for a trip to Disneyland against the Anaheim Ducks. They’ll wrap up their California trip against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings Dec. 6.
California in December? Yes please. Check out three Flyers games. Go to Hollywood, Disneyland, Los Angeles, the beautiful beaches. Up north, check out the Winchester Mystery House (one of the craziest houses ever built….that’s also haunted). And in California, Flyers fans tend to be all over the arena (especially in LA and Anaheim), so you won’t be alone. It’s a dream trip.
Flyers + Hall of Fame = Toronto: December 20
It’s a one game trip, but its a Saturday in Toronto. I’ve never been there, but I only hear great things about it. It’s a major city in Canada with a ton of nightlife and attractions. I’ve always wanted to see a game in Canada, especially in Toronto. It’s the home of the Hockey Hall of Fame, a mandatory stop for all hockey fans. Tickets are pricey, and you will need a passport for Canada, but it’s a trip perfect for Flyers fans who want to make the trek to hockey’s mecca.
A Weekend in the Capital: Feb. 8 (Washington)
The Flyers play the Capitals on Sunday, Feb. 8. I thought this was cool, but then quickly checked to see if this was Super Bowl Sunday. Luckily, it’s not, so this is doable.
There’s a lot to do in D.C. There are the famous museums, historical landmarks, and great restaurants throughout the city. It’s a nice get-away weekend.
But if you want to just do a day trip, D.C. is only about two hours down Interstate 95. It’s a 3:00 p.m. matinee, so you won’t get home too late for work/school Monday. If driving isn’t your thing, take a train from 30th Street Station to D.C. For those not able to go far, this is a nice little road trip to take.
Boston Brewin’: March 7 (Boston)
I’m sure no one has ever used that pun before. But if you want a weekend of hockey, beer, and a great city, this is a trip for you.
I’ve never been to Boston, but everyone raves about it. I’ve always wanted to go, and this is a perfect weekend to check it out. It’s about six hours away and a short drive for a weekend. Get there Friday night, watch the Flyers take on the Bruins at TD Garden for the 1 p.m. afternoon game, then go out Saturday night to the plethora of bars and nightlife Boston has to offer.
(Oh, and for the bold and hungover, make a pit stop in Newark Sunday night on the way home for the Flyers and Devils at 5 p.m.)
These are just some cities that stand out to me as possibilities for a great road trip. And if you can’t get out to a road trip, nothing beats a game at the good ole’ Wells Fargo Center right here in Philadelphia.
But you’ll always remember that one time you took that trip to see your favorite team and create memories to last a lifetime.