Monday, July 02, 2007


I was ready to stop shots from Mark Messier.

I came, I saw and I touched the Holy Grail. It was heaven on earth.

I finally visited the Hockey Hall of Fame for the first time. The Hall is located in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada (of course). I now am able to cross off one of the items on my list of places to visit before I die. (I borrow this sentence from a book by Patricia Schultz, "1,000 Places to See Before You Die".)

Travel tips - Even though the Hall opened on Canada Day (July 1st), all the shops at BCE Place were closed and only one restaurant opened. Almost half of the shops in downtown area closed but CN Tower and museums were opened.

My most favorite activity was taking part in the interactive games in a simulated rink, Be a Player Zone. The virtual game allows visitors to test their shooting skills by going one-on-one using real pucks (not foam), a full-size regulated hockey stick, against a life-sized computer-simulated Eddie “The Eagle” Belfour. Belfour spent his career in the early 90’s with the Chicago Blackhawks and later with the Dallas Stars. Belfour replaced Curtis Joseph when Cujo left the Toronto Maple Leafs. Belfour currently is listed with the Florida Panthers. The nickname “the Eagle” came from the impressive art work of Eagles adorned his goalie mask. I am proud to say that the speed of my shot prompted Belfour to respond twice in an effort to make the save.
Next I suited up with full size gloves and full size goalie stick for a realistic life-size, live-action against video images of real hockey players such as Mark Messier, the retired captain of the New York Rangers. Messier has been selected to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame this coming November.

The top photo above showed I was in position ready to stop the sponge pucks fired at me by Messier at speeds up to 70 mph through one of the openings in a 8-by-10 foot video screen. I am proud to say that I stopped two of the five shots.
I also enjoyed suited up in full goalie uniform in a replica Montreal Canadiens dressing room.
Next was the Broadcast Zone where I let my husband talked me into a 30-second recording of a message to my favorite hockey team or player. Without much time to prepare, I rambled about how much I loved the Detroit Red Wings, about Stevie Yzerman as my favorite player, and I also liked Datsyk, Osgood and hoped that the Red Wings will bring back Slava Koslov. My husband watches the video whenever he needs a good laugh. He said that I looked so enthuse and that I had the look of a kid in the candy store.

Next we visited the NHL Trophies room where we took photos with the Stanley Cup and all other trophies. My favorite trophies besides the Stanley Cup were the Verina Trophy (award to the Top Goalie) and James Norris Memorial Trophy (award to the Best Defenseman).

At the end of the tour, we went into the Spirit of Hockey store. I am glad to report that we did not spend much money as I did not see many choices of clothing specifically for ladies. Most of the shirts designed for women were skimpy, not appropriate for a middle-age chubby woman.

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