While there’s no better hockey experience than taking in an NHL game at the Bell Centre and its electric atmosphere, some of us just can’t make it there for every game (unlike neon-coat guy). The rest of us are just going to have to settle for a little ‘homegating.’ What is homegating, you may ask? It’s all the fun of tailgating at your best team’s event but in the comfort of your own home.
Homegating can be almost as much fun as attending a live game, plus when you start to cry out of frustration there’s zero chance you’ll get caught on the Jumbotron for the world to laugh and point at. Worst case scenario is a picture taken by your significant other posted to Instagram, maybe.
Settle in, because the 2022-23 season is about to begin and the best way to take in the good, the bad, and the ugly is to take a page out of the Habs’ book and start building ourselves the best homegate party!
Dust off that favourite jersey
Deciding which jersey to start the season with is always a toughie. Do you go with a classic Guy Lafleur? Stick with the ever-faithful Carey Price? Or throw on that Cole Caufield sweater because you know the kid is gonna bring it this season? Either way, you know you can always change it halfway through the second period if things are going terribly wrong.
Not clever enough to come up with a spectacular handshake? Break out a vintage triple low five. After a good win... or even an “I can’t believe we won that one” win, grab your best mate and give it the ol’ one, two, three celebration.
Hang 24 Stanley Cup banners around your room
Wait, you mean to tell me that you don’t have 24 Stanley Cup banners just sitting around your house? Not even mini versions? Then, my friend, it’s time to get creative. Run to the kitchen, grab a handful of napkins, find a box of markers, some tape and get to it.
Pass the torch ... or maybe just a candle to be on the safer side
We have some fresh faces joining us this season. Join in the tradition of passing the torch by handing a candle to the newest member of your group. Bonus points if they’re not a hockey fan and have no idea what’s going on.
It’s hockey season, so if you’re into alcoholic beverages you’re going to want to start the night off with a beer or three. If you’re not into alcoholic beverages, give it half a season and get back to me. Not much of a beer drinker? Never fear! Just like your jersey-switching if things aren’t going our way, to the liquor cabinet you go to break open the whiskey.
Jersey? Check. Nimble wrists for triple low fives? Check. Napkin banners? Check. Candle? Check. Two types of alcohol? Check. Now it’s time to really go all in.
Whether your homegate party is a party of one or 20, variety is the spice of life. A little something for everyone is a nice gesture but if it’s season-opener, home-opener, the weekend, or playoff time, pizza and wings are a must. Want to Montreal it up? Throw some smoked meat on your pizza or some gravy and cheese curds on your wings.
If your game ends up being a snoozer, channel your inner teenager and add a drinking game! Take a drink every time the refs make a great call. Er, that’s no fun. You’ll be sober all evening. Okay, try this. Chug a beer every time you correctly guess if the goaltender interference challenge is actually goaltender interference. You at least have a 50/50 chance on that one.
Having the right people at your homegate party is an absolute must. You need people you can celebrate with, argue with, or if nothing else, can at least tolerate for a few hours ... six if it’s a crazy playoff game with triple OT. If it’s a party of one, I’m sure your four-legged pal won’t mind taking in the game with you (and maybe a chicken wing with gravy and cheese). But if your pup is anything like mine, keep the celebrating to a minimum. She’s not a fan of high fives ... or triple low fives for that matter.
Now, consider yourself all prepped for the Canadiens 2022-23 season! Sure, they may have the Bell Centre, but you now have something even better-ish.