November saw the Canadian immigration website inundated with applications, which may or may not have been the direct result of the National Hockey League season starting to heat up. Luckily for us Londoners, we don’t have to brave the sub-zero conditions of the North American winter. You can spend an evening watching ten men chase a vulcanised rubber disk at Ally Pally instead. Here are four reasons why you should.
Ice hockey matches take place in a much-loved, historic venue
Alexandra Palace needs no introduction. Having once been home to the world’s first regular public 'high definition' TV service and London’s only racecourse, the venue has since played host to the Brit Awards, the World Darts Championships and even the Miss World Awards, not to mention musical acts from Led Zeppelin to Jay-Z.
It’s cheap as chips
Thanks to Groupon, tickets are a total steal at £4 – which is now sadly considered the cost of a reasonably priced pint these days. When you throw in the value for money offered in the Ally Pally café, you're well on your way to an inexpensive Saturday night of boozing, particularly with rinkside drinking permitted (take note, football grounds).
You won’t be able to take your eyes off the action
Where else would you have front row seats as the tussling of bear-like warriors is tempered with end-to-end action that will have you on the edge of your seat? Contrary to popular belief, you can also see the puck.
There's a great, family-friendly atmosphere
While the fans this side of the Atlantic aren’t perhaps as vitriolic as our Canuck counterparts, things can get pretty lively in the Palace. There’s nothing quite like the tasty Haringey Racers v Lee Valley Lions north London derby to get the blood flowing. There’s an admirable rapport between fans and players, plus the chance to meet the game's heroes afterwards.