THE GALLOWAY REPORT
Featuring NHL Linesman Ryan Galloway of Winnipeg, MB
Keep posted to The Ref Room for all of Ryan's updates this NHL season!
February 10, 2012:
Normally, during the course of a season, I will get to most of the 30 cities in the league, and each city has something to offer. We are fortunate to be able to visit some of the best cities in North America, and enjoy what they have to offer. Sightseeing on days off, to enjoying amazing restaurants and meeting people from everywhere, these are some of the bonuses that come along with the job.
As we leave the confines of the hotels and enter the arenas, the excitement can be felt in each and every building as game time approaches. Hockey fans are passionate people, and make the experience of the game better for the players and officials. As we take to the ice prior to the game, the electricity and anticipation is palpable. The pregame rituals of each team’s fans are a reminder of just how important this game is to them. In Dallas, the fans yell “Stars” twice during the national anthem when the word appears in the song. The crescendo of cheers is deafening as Jim Cornelison works his magic singing the American anthem in Chicago, usually flanked by members of the armed forces. Even the cannon that fires every time the Blue Jackets score adds to the atmosphere in the building. I remember the first time it went off, not expecting it I almost ducked for cover!!
Although the fans in all the cities we visit love their team and cheer loud, Canadian fans raise the level a few notches. The arena rumbles from the crowd in Vancouver as they scream “Lou” when Luongo is on his game. The flames that blast when Calgary scores is so powerful that the heat from them can be felt on the ice. And of course, it goes without saying that Winnipeg has easily secured itself as one of the loudest and most fun buildings for us to work in.
Working in the “original six” cities is always an amazing experience. Although no longer the buildings they started in, the new arenas have absorbed the passion from the old, and the legacy of these teams carries forward in today’s fans. The history and support of these teams is even more obvious when you work them in away games and the arena is filled with not only the home teams fans, but also a loyal following for the visitors. The jerseys and cheers when the visiting team scores reinforce that although you can move away, once a fan of a team, always a fan.
Also obvious to us as we walk around the “guts” of the building, is how many people rely on the game. Ticket takers, ushers, concessions and ice crews work hard to ensure the night is enjoyable for the fans. It truly does amaze me how much work goes in to making the “game experience” great for the paying customers.
Every time I lace up the skates and head out on the ice, I am reminded how fortunate I am to be able to do what I do. Hearing the cheers (and the boos) of 16,000 or so fans night after night is incredible. Every day I go to work, I get paid to be on the ice with the best players in the world in front of the greatest sports fans in the world.
Really….what could be better then that?
By the time I sit down to write the next edition, many leagues will have started into playoffs. Best of luck to all the officials, players and coaches for a safe, fair and exciting run. This is what you have worked hard for all season, so enjoy the experience and strive to be the best.
Before I finish this one and get ready to head to Long Island for my next game, I want to pass along my best wishes to a great friend, and friend to all officials in the province, Garth Loeppky. If there is anyone I know of that can face any challenge and come out on top is Garth. You have many colleagues in this game that have your back and are there for you, my friend.
“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from indomitable will.”