Friday, January 27, 2012

Photo Diary: All Star Fan Fest

Welcome to the another Sens Town photo diary. This time I'm going to tackle the 2012 NHL All Star Fan Fest at the Ottawa Convention Centre for all of you who weren't able to attend, are on the fence to attend or simply don't live in the Ottawa area. So sit back and enjoy a tour of the Fan Fest through my eyes. Enjoy.

And here's what got me into the event. Nothing fancy here. Just a plain old Capital Tickets ticket. I was hoping they would have done something with the All Star logo or something Ottawa, but for $10 I can't really complain. The thing I will complain about is the no re-entry policy. You should be able to come and go all day for the day you have the ticket for, especially with so many people from out of town in the city. I overheard MANY people complaining about this and having to pay twice.

And here is the Ottawa Convention Centre where the fan fest was held. This was my first time in the new convention centre so I was excited to check it out. It looks awesome from outside and the inside is very spacious and easy on the eyes. As you can see it was another balmy day in the Capital.

A banner of all the teams in the NHL that welcomed you to fan fest. This thing was huge and a nice touch to start off the event. It reminded you that this is a league event and not just an Ottawa event. Sometimes it seems like the latter, so I enjoyed see all the teams in one place.

When you walk in the All Star Store in on your left, filled with scarves, jerseys, hats, pucks, tees and tons of other souvenirs you may want to pick up for the weekends. For a temporary store they had a decent selection and the store itself was pretty nice. If you want to make sure you get official merchandise and not fakes that are going around, this is your place.

Here's some of the jerseys they were selling. I'm not gonna lie, I told myself it's a complete waste of money to get an All Star jersey for the weekend that I won't ever wear again, but I got caught up in the event and ended up buying an on ice Alfie jersey. Oops! Oh well, can't go wrong with Alfie right? Speaking of Alfie, he was signing autographs from 2:30pm-3:30pm this afternoon and I was told that people started to line up at 9am and they had to stop people from getting in line at 11:30am because the line was so big, a full 3 hours before he was even starting. That's love right there.

A nice little welcome banner as you enter. It was a nice little touch I thought and there were lots of little details around the venue that made it look very nice. If you go then be sure to keep your eyes out for the details.

And we're off. Up the escalators and into the fan fest. The entrance was nicely done but avoid signing up for the Scotiabank fan pass. It's pointless and a waste of time. Just a heads up.

First up is some love for the hometown team. This exhibit featured the original logo jersey, the first ever game score sheet, game used pucks and the original application book that was presented to the NHL when we were trying to get a team back in the Capital.

An awesome 1920-21 Ottawa Senators World Champions jersey that I wish the Sens Store sold, plus a Patrick Lalime Marvin the Martian stick he was famous for during his time with Ottawa.

A very cool map of where all the booths are located for fan fest in the shape of the NHL logo.

A pretty cool feature is that you can get your own personalized Upper Deck trading card for free, if you buy an Upper Deck product. So it isn't really free. Nevertheless the place was packed with little kids and is a pretty cool souvenir to have.

Look what I came across also in the Upper Deck section. Sens prospect and World Junior OT goal scorer Mika Zibanejad. Hopefully he will be at an All Star Game as a player in a few years. They also had some of Kyle Turris and Colin Greening kicking around.

Even The Daug was getting some love at the fan fest. This time as a future player to watch complete with autograph and a piece of his jersey. Shoutout to The Rooster.

Of course they had to have some Leaf merch too, but Kadri really? He can't even make the NHL. Leaf Nation sure are suckers. I'd take Cowen over Kadri everyday and twice on Sundays. I'd like to point out that there was no one buying this.

They also had this limited edition All Star commemorative card of the Sens Alfie, Spezza and Karlsson, but what about Michalek? Just like at the draft, MM9 is on the outside looking in. Seems like a bad move by Upper Deck.

Ah memories. Remember when we won this as the best regular season team before blowing it in the playoffs? Ya me too. Let's just move on shall we.

Here's the main room of fan fest. It's massive and really nicely decorated. At the back you can see the Stanley Cup and you can have your picture taken with it. There's also lots of games to play like the players will do at the Skills Competition tomorrow night. The lines are long however, so be patient or don't bother.

And here's an example of one of the games you can play. In this case it's the sniper one. The Sens could use some practice on this considering how often they tend to miss the net. I didn't bother playing because I'm an adult and it's more for kids and the lines are long, but if you have kids be sure to stop by. They seem to love it.

The Conn Smythe may have Maple Leaf Gardens on the top of it, but this is still the one of the best looking trophy's there is. Hopefully a modern day Senator will be on it soon.

This is a Canadian Tire money booth where Canadian Tire money blows around you and the more you catch the more you get. Yep, all for Canadian Tire money. So wait in like for a half hour to get yourself 78 cents you can only spend at one store. Seems worth it.

A sight many Sens fans will want to forget. A 50 foot Alexei Kovalev banner to celebrate the rigged MVP award he won at the 2009 All Star Game in Montreal. I heard he was going to come to Ottawa for the weekend but couldn't because there was a warrant out for his arrest for stealing 10 million from the Senators.

Only from a GTA company would a Dion Phaneuf framed and signed photo be worth more than hall of famer Guy LaFleur's.

Call me crazy but booths here shouldn't have half hour breaks. There should always be someone manning it at all times. Especially love the homemade sign. Good job NHL network. Oh they made a play on words with the we're on a tv timeout thing because it was a booth where you can call a game. I see what you did there. Genius!

Another one of the little touches you may notice at fan fest. A frosted All Star Game logo on the rail. They really nailed that logo in my opinion. Love it.

A view of the Rideau Canal and the Parliament buildings all done up with All Star banners on a snowy Friday in Ottawa. Not a bad view eh? You can see the Sportsnet booth on your left where they will be broadcasting all weekend.

The wall of frozen jerseys featuring every single team in the NHL by the Rideau Canal. Due to the weather some were barely visible, but despite what this picture shows, tourists seemed to love it. This would have been awesome to see and very impressive too if I hadn't of already seen it at the 2009 All Star Game in Montreal.

Speaking of Montreal, Sens jersey is nice and visible, while the Habs jersey is frozen and you can barely see it. Seems like the perfect metaphor for their respective seasons doesn't it?

The All Star Game has taken over the city. The banners and excitement around the city is very noticeable and cool to see. Here's a massive banner in french for the All Star Game on the canal on a snowy day.

A really nice banner for the one and only Alfie in front of The Westin Hotel. I'd love a smaller version of this on my wall at home. Looks amazing in person. I hope they keep this up for the rest of the season even after the weekend is over.

On my way back to the car look who I ran into? I know it's from the back but you can still tell who it is. It's the Big Z, Zdeno Chara, flanked Tim Thomas to his right in the hat. Also in the group but not pictured were Marian Hossa, Jofrey Lupul, Brian Campbell, Tyler Seguin, Claude Giroux and Carey Price. They were just walking back to their hotel all together. Pretty cool to see them all get along like that. Seguin was overheard complaining about how a reporter from the US couldn't pronounce his name right all day. It was funny.

Speaking of Carey Price, I have to give him a lot of respect. He stopped and took pics and signed everyone's stuff on the street while on his way to the hotel when he didn't have to. Not all of the players did, but he made a point to do it and be really nice to a Habs fan and his kid. His stock just went up in my books a lot. Good to see the players be good guys. I never tire of seeing that.

And the perfect way to end a day of checking out the fan fest. A frosty cold pint of Guinness to quench my thirst. They also have a lot of legit gourmet food available at the fan fest from real chefs. Think gourmet sliders, poutine and chili type food. It all looked pretty good from what I saw.

So that's the fan fest in a nut shell. There's some good and some bad. It's mostly for kids and there can be long lines at things you may want to do, but for the cost it's definitely worth checking out to feel the vibe of the weekend and maybe get lucky and run into a player or hockey personality. I'd recommend giving it a look if you have the time. The fan fest runs through Sunday night.

Thoughts on the fan fest photo diary?


Anonymous said...

Great job , I don't need to go now.

Anonymous said...

I'm finally getting caught up on your entries about the All Star Weekend. They're wonderful, thanks so much for sharing. I wish I could have been there.