Tuesday, May 7, 2013

NHL Playoffs - Watching from London

It is grueling. No, not the playoffs themselves, but trying to watch them from five time zones east of Eastern time. Most games start at midnight or later and require that you find a feed streaming over the internet. For Penguins games, @hockeyburgh on twitter has been a great source.

This past Sunday, a 12pm-Eastern matinee had us eager to find a pub to watch the game. A friend had mentioned that The Sports Cafe near Trafalgar Square was London's closest approximation of an American sports bar and even showed American sports. We walked in to a packed house and saw dozens upon dozens of TVs, all tuned in to the same Premier League event: Man U vs Chelsea. Fair enough, those are some pretty big fan bases.

But where can you find hockey fans in London? Surely there are at least a few Canadian ex-pats here, right? We did some googling and found out that up the street in Covent Garden is The Maple Leaf, a pub that is self-proclaimed as "a little piece of Canada in the heart of London." And, its website specifically highlights that it broadcasts the NHL! Perfect!

We walked in and immediately felt a sense of deja vu: hordes of people watching nothing but English football. As far as we could tell there was nothing Canadian about the place! It was small, it was hot, and nobody was holding a Tim Horton's cup.

So it's internet streams and the comforts of home for now. Lacking any upcoming morning appointments, I'll do my best to stay up after the puck drops at midnight.