It's All Star Weekend and while many of you are taking in the sights and sounds of one of the NHL's biggest showcases, I found myself in Toronto taking a private tour of the Air Canada Centre. For those interested, you can buy tickets at Real Sports Apparel (beside the ACC) or online at http://www.theaircanadacentre.com/acctours_home.asp . However, the people at Real Sports Apparel or ACC personnel don't seem to know too much about it. The tour leaves from Gate 1 and you will see inside the Visitors Dressing Room, the Media Room, the Foster Hewitt Media Gondola, luxury boxes, the entrances to the Raptors' and Leafs' dressing rooms, and the benches. It takes about an hour and the tour guide was knowledgeable, ready to answer questions, and was fine taking a Sens fan around the heart of Leaf Nation. Overall, a great tour and enjoyable experience and I can only imagine that if I had been a Leafs fan, this experience would have been something truly special.
My decision to go on the tour was inspired by a similar experience this past fall, when I went to Liverpool with my sister and took a stadium and museum tour of Anfield, home of Liverpool Football Club. As a Reds supporter, this tour was memorable and cherished. Because of the different training routines in soccer (training takes place off site and dressing rooms are not the private space where players play, eat, relax, and train that they are in North American sports) we had even greater access at Anfield. We got to see the Media Room, the Home and Away dressing rooms, the hallway where players line up before a match, the famous "This Is Anfield" sign, go up to the pitch and sit in the players' bench, and sit in the famous Kop end. With the tour complete we got to take a tour through the team's museum, immersing ourselves in over 100 years of team history, exploring the team's vast collection of trophies, and taking photos with their Champions League trophy. This truly was a fantastic tour and experience and deepened my connection to the club.
This brings me back to All Star Weekend and the Sens. I have been anticipating this weekend for awhile, especially after we nabbed four starters. Getting a chance to have the personalities of Alfie, Spezza, Michalek, and Karlsson come through a bit more has been enjoyable to watch. I think having a Scotiabank Place tour would further this understanding. Getting the player or team personnel perspective of the Bank would provide fans with a fantastic opportunity to get to know their team and building. We are currently celebrating our 20th season, and while that is not a lot compared to some teams, a recent post on this site about why we cheer for the Sens shows that the fan base is passionate about its history and that a team museum would help newer fans access that history and understand what it means to be part of the Sens Army. Sens fans who never experienced the rough early years or the Battle of Ontario in the playoffs could experience it through a team museum. Plus, the original Senators could be covered too.
While a team museum would be a significant investment, a tour seems like a good way to add some revenue relatively cheaply. What do you think?