December 11, 2007

An Interview With Steve Williamson aka the "30 Games in 30 Nights" Guy

By now, you've probably heard about Steve Williamson, the Orlando, Florida resident who earlier this season, began a 30 night consecutive trek all over North America and Canada, and witnessed 30 NHL games in person. As hockey fans, we're jealous of what Williamson did. If you haven't checked out his blog detailing each day of the trip, do so. It's well worth the read and he even includes photos.

I was able to ask Steve some questions regarding his trek.

First things first, you just spent 30 nights traveling all over North America and the end of your trek, were you relieved it was over or sad that you weren't going to another city for a game the next night?

A little of both. 30 nights on the road is a long time and I was ready to sleep in my own bed. But, it was a once in a lifetime experience, which I loved every minute of, and there was a part of me that was ready to see a few more games.

Once the media started picking up on your story, were there any cool perks you received from teams?

As the media caught on to my web site, 30 Games in 30, the teams became more and more helpful. Between periods in Chicago, I got to shoot the puck for a chance to win round-trip airline tickets anywhere that United Airlines flies. I hit the net, but this pretty blonde girl came closer to the little cutout in the middle, which was a little embarrassing.

Was there a time during your trip where you thought you were going to miss a game due to travel problems?

With a little planning and lots of luck, my travel went off almost flawlessly. I took 35 flights and none was more than an hour late, which is amazing. The closest I came to missing a game was in Washington, where I got lost driving to the arena and ended up in a scary part of town. It took me about 45 minutes to find the arena, then I couldn't find a place to park. Next time, I'll take the Metro!

Living on Florida and not getting to see many Western Conference opponents, who from the West were you most excited to see play in person?

Having seen seven hard-fought Lightning/Flames games in the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals, I was looking forward to seeing Calgary play again and Even though I was wearing my Tampa Bay jersey, their fans couldn't Have been more friendly. Player-wise, it was great to see Patrick Kane in Chicago play in person before most everyone else in the Eastern time zone did. He's the real deal.

Out of the 30 arenas you visited, which one would you want to go back and visit again?

Montreal, no doubt about it. The atmosphere was electric, even though it was a Tuesday night game against a last place team. I want to go back for a Saturday night game against the Maple Leafs, how does that sound?

We all know the hockey experience in Canada is a unique one. What arena in the United States do you feel most closely resembles the experience in Canada?

Each of my Canadian experiences was different. The crowds in Western Canada were very quiet and didn't show much emotion, while in Ottawa and Toronto they were more enthusiastic. The crowd in St. Louis was probably the loudest arena on the road, although its not an apples to apples comparison, as it depended on how well the home team was doing. If they went down 2-0 early, the arena would be much quieter than it they were up 2-0.

For any fan who wants to follow in your footsteps and complete a similar road-trip or a shorter version, what tips would you give them in their planning and execution of things?

I chose to do the trip early in the season to stay away from weather problems. Book your flights early and everything else late, as hotels and rental cars often dropped in price as I got closer to the games.

Lastly, is this something you'd ever do again?

In a heartbeat, if there was something that I was as passionate about as I was about my 30 Games In 30 Nights trip.

The craziest part of his whole trip to me is that he took 35 flights and not one was more an an hour late. If only the rest of us could get that luck when traveling. I don't think I could do a 30 games in 30 nights trip myself, but definitely something smaller. The jetlag would most likely catch up to me by day three and I wouldn't want to find myself napping in my seat, wearing a Penguins jersey, while a Flyer fan is pouring beer on my head.

Thanks very much to Steve Williamson for taking the time to answer my questions. His blog was fun to follow and it was a trip to see him popping up during telecasts on Center Ice throughout his 30 day adventure.

Ballhype: hype it up!

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