Hockey in Cologne

May 6, 2010

Even tough ice hockey isn't so popular in France, I've been following it regularly for 20 years, probably cause my hometown Briançon hosts one of the best team in the French league. The level is not as high as in major leagues in some other European countries or North-America, nevertheless it's  one of the most entertaining sports and I grew up going to see games every week. Every June during the Stanley Cups, I get up in the middle of the night to watch some games- it's safe to say my friends think I'm nuts

So when I heard that Cologne would host the 2010 World Championship, I bought tickets to semi-finals right away (130€ for two games, not that bad!). And to kill two birds with one stone, I had a chance to visit Cologne with clear blue skies! It was great to chill by the Rhine river and to wander along the narrow street of the old town...

During any championship, the hosting city always receives a lot of tourists and most particularly fans from all over the Europe. Around the main arena, the atmosphere was friendly and some fans were singing and drinking beers together in high spirits. Germany was still in the race and so the locals were there as well, supporting their team.

First semi final was Czech Republic against Sweden. Super stars such as Jaromir Jagr, Tomas Vokoun were on the ice. 

Sweden was leading 2-1 until late in the game...

 ...but the Czech finally tied the game with 7 seconds left and won the game in the penalty shot. Crazy scenario. Swedes were devastated after the game!

Second game was Russia against Germany and there were even more super stars on the ice: Ovechkin, Fedorov, Maklin, Kovalchuck, Datsyuk... basically the best of the best! 

Even with their NHL star, Russians were not able to dominate the game. Germany even scored first, the atmosphere in the arena at that moment was incredible!! 

The Russian tied the game later on and scored the winning goal with only 2 minutes left. Germany pulled off a great performance though, against one of the biggest ice hockey countries in the world. 

All in all, it was a pretty action-filled hockey weekend in a cool town, where beer doesn't cost too much...not too bad for a hockey fan like myself! ;) Next time, I hope my Finnish partner in crime tags along...


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