Accompanying Flicka and me to the game was a gentleman from Oxford, England, who was attending only his second hockey game. His first game was in Ottawa in 1999.
Unlike the Rogers Centre, where the Toronto Blue Jays play, the Air Canada Centre does not permit service dogs to sit in the regular seats. Instead, service dogs are required to sit in the accessibility seating area. The sight lines from the area are not terrible, but are not as close to the action as I’m use to at the Rogers Centre.
We had an evening filled with fun and adventure. In the first period, the Maple Leafs’ mascot, Carlton, came by our seats, dressed as Superman; The Maple Leafs had a Halloween theme last night.
Our tickets last night permitted us access to the underbelly of the arena. We got to see where the players travel from their dressing room to their benches beside the playing ice. We also got to hang out at the side of the ice, and, the highlight of Flicka’s night was meeting the Maple Leafs “Ice Crew”.
Apparently, relatively recently, the Maple Leafs created a team known as the “Ice Crew”. Comprised of eight young ladies, the Ice Crew skates onto the ice during television time outs (yes, play is suspended while commercials air on television).
When I politely asked, “Would any of you like to meet National Service Dog Flicka?”, they seized the opportunity and Flicka was in love. While she was laying on her back, six of the eight ladies gave Flicka a group tummy rub. If you could have seen the smile on her face!
Apparently, not many service dogs go to hockey games. Nonetheless, staff at the Air Canada Centre were amazing, and have obviously been well trained.
After the game, Flicka posed for one last photo.