Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 .. The Review

Well what can i say about 2014 .... i mean i woke up in Feldkirch,Austria with a bad hangover ,woke all my friends up and went to play some shinny in Malbun,Liechtenstein . Really how many people can say they have started a year , any year off that way ? It was only gonna get better too ! This very happy Travelling Goalie went to play ice hockey in 12 different countries on 3 different continents within the past 12 months ... The second country i went to play hockey in was in Germany , yes i love Germany and have to always pass by there pretty much at least once a year :) First pro game i went to see this year was in Augsburg with super friend Timo Korner who i was also with for New Years Eve/Day ... that trip in total was awesome ! The group of people we were with made the trip what it was Kathleen ,Rainer ,Timo , Karl , Daz , Sarah , Mark & Lisa . We all stuck together through that whole trip (for the most part) LOL ! 

That first trip to start 2014 didn't end in Europe and as most of you know it wasn't the last time my hockey equipment went missing . That was really the main theme of that whole trip wasn't it HAHAHA ! Before i headed home i went to Africa ...yes to play ice hockey , but more particularly i went to Rabat,Morocco as a guest of their ice hockey federation to go help their youth program for a few sessions :) I've done a few sessions with children before but this was the first time i was given the reigns and asked to run a full session on my own and it was a magnificent experience being on the ice as a guest of Association National Marocaine de Hockey sur Glace (ANMHG) .                               

When i left Morocco it was just the beginning of January still and as soon as i hit the ground in Toronto i started planning my next adventure and yeah i had the itch to go back to Africa . Of course i had to work a lot to save up , some of you must think i am made of money but i'm not ! Self made poor man , self made in the sense that i spend all my money on these trips LOL :) Of course i was playing hockey here in Toronto for my Ghetto Blasters and we had quite the successful year too winning our weekend league and losing in the final with our Tuesday night squad ... making both finals is amazing and i am super proud we did that as it was gonna be the only championship i was gonna win in 2014 :( yeah kinda sad isn't it ... i went to 4 tournaments overseas this year and the best i got was a 2nd place finish but that's not gonna tarnish 2014 for me ... NO NO NO ! Gotta keep working , put the stress of killing myself to make money aside and keep thinking about the next trip .

Unfortunately sometimes you just have to take off and around mid February i needed to get away ... so i went to Montreal as a guest once again with my friends from the Moroccan Federation . I stayed with the President of the Federation ... Mr. Khalid Mrini , who travels between Montreal and Rabat quite regularly and has residence in both cities . I was also there to meet his right hand man ... Adil El Farj who was the guy that convinced me to go to Morocco and in fact we had been chatting online for a few years about this so it was great to finally meet him and to see a good friend i had made on my travels ... nobody treated me as well as Khalid did in 2014 ... not to say nobody took care of me but nobody went to the lengths he went to on both occasions to make me feel at home ! 

As i said 2014 was a massively amazing year and a big part of it was due to what happened on my next trip .... as i said i had the itch to go back to Africa and my friend Adil whom i just mentioned put me in touch with someone he knew from South Africa and we started to plan out my next trip ... yup i went to South Africa :) And yup i went to play ice hockey , this trip was a bit messy as it was not really organized so well and when i arrived i was not sure of my ice times and i was not sure if i was even gonna get on the ice but big Gary Bock sorted me out :) Gary is a former South African National team goalie , his brother Ashley is the current goalie so i was in good hands with these 2 giants ! Yes they are huge !!!! So as i said i ended up there with no planned ice time and left being able to say i helped coach at the  U20 National Development camp . They were so happy to see a goalie come out to teach their goalies a few things , nobody had ever went there to do that for them ??? c'mon someone has to go do this again , for free !!!! It was sad to hear some of the stories about hockey players offering their services for $10,000 ... i did it for free :) paid for it myself in fact ! Someone step up and go down there for the experience not for the money . One of the best things to ever come out of my travels happened due to this trip .... not too long ago i got a message from one of the goalie's parents to thank me for helping her son , she told me she is sure that i helped him make the U20 team and man that still brings shivers up my spine :P 

 After South Africa i stopped over in Barcelona,Spain to play for the Rainman AllStars , yes Rainers team :) It wasn't my favorite city that i visited this year as i lost my camera or was pick pocketed , i don't know it was a crazy night and probably the craziest night of 2014 ... After getting knocked out of the tournament which was held at Camp Nou , yes legendary stadium where FC Barcelona plays ! It was great and the tournament was fun too , met lots of cool people and made some good friends there . But that one night that Germany won the World Cup was the craziest night by far !!!!! Watching the final with a bunch of Germans in Spain was totally crazy and even though that night will be remembered by some of us for getting robbed and wasted beyond belief i will always remember it as the where was i when Germany won the World Cup night ... i basically know where i was but don't ask what i was doing ... i do know i was drinking beer at the rink , then wine at the restaurant where we watched the game ... then champagne to celebrate , then jagermeister at the Jager Bomb bar , then vodka colas ... i honestly don't think i paid for any of my drinks at the end but i do remember hanging out on the beach with a bunch of Swedish kackvogels .... yeah the Travelling Goalie met the Drunken Goalie , but we were both wasted LOL ....

I took my insane hangover home with me after that trip asking myself so many questions about what happened , some i still can't answer ... obvious mixed emotions over my stay in Barcelona but that one night , man i will never remember it LOL ! When the hangover wore off i was already hard at work planning my third big trip of the year , somehow i became a cross country driver at this point ... don't ask it's a long story and somehow i fell into it , the things i do to travel ... i mean driving stuff across the country is travelling right ??? Yeah it is ! And you know i had to make these road trips hockey related right ? Of course i would ! Unfortunately i had no room for gear on both my trips ... first trip i made was to Los Angeles,California , on that trip i made sure to stop in Denver,Colorado for 1 night and on that night i met up with Edmond Phillipps who is ... hold your breath ... the founder of the Jamaican National Ice Hockey Federation !!!!!!!!!! Yeah how cool is that ??? We had a good night talking hockey and drinking beers together . Obviously i am making plans to go there someday :) .... On that same trip out to LA i also made a stop in Chicago to visit Chicago Villans chairman Simon Leach and in Denver i met up with Mark Altherr who is chairman for the Denver Villans ... yeah i am a big Aston Villa fan :) Not gonna go in too deep about the Villa , this is about hockey . The second road trip was out to Whistler,BC and that was more hockey related as i made a visit to the rink in Terrace Bay (middle of nowhere) then headed out to Winnipeg to watch the Jets play the Penguins ... Pens won in shootout , Crosby gets the winner :) After that i headed to Regina to watch a Pats game , first time i have ever seen a WHL game ... really its true Canadiana and what you will experience can't be more Canadian then it already is ... i loved it ! don't get me wrong the Jets game blew everything away in terms of watching a game this year as it was LOUD and the fans are really fans unlike the corporate fans we get in Toronto :( That trip ended in Vancouver where i made an appearance at The Hockey Community's office to meet Alex Toul who i would meet again later in the year in Toronto ... 3 cities so far Alex ! Next one we meet in is probably Antwerp in 2015 ? :)

So yeah all this hard work driving across the continent , meeting people and saving cash for my next ultimate trip which finally was planned and booked to start off in the Balkans ... particularly in Skopje,Macedonia . This my friends is the ultimate trip that i have tried to plan for 10 years now ...  3 tournaments in 3 weeks in 3 different countries !!! This has eluded me for years and years and years , i have had this kinda trip booked and organized before and it has never ever come to fruition until 2014 ... i got really lucky to have these 3 interesting tournaments fall into succession , this was like winning the lottery as things down in the Balkans are done differently then most would expect . Basically when things don't seem normal you just have to sit back and say "it's the Balkan way " smile and laugh because that is just the way it is ... if you haven't been there yet then you are probably wondering what i am babbling about ... get off your ass and go down there ! The first tournament i locked down was the tournament in Budapest with Rainer then i got confirmation with Skopje and placed on a team then i got confirmation last but not least from Novi Sad ....

When i got to Skopje , Macedonia i met Zoki who is a German living in Skopje for over 10 years now . He is a member of the National Team that is kicking off just now , they actually recently played their first international game vs. Bulgaria ... way to be guys ! I was lucky enough to get onto this team from Thessaloniki ,Greece called Iraklis (which is Hercules in Greek) ...lucky because my next stop was Thessaloniki ! The tournament was great with a decent level of play which i would highly suggest everyone goes to ... while i was there i was also very lucky to have the pleasure of meeting and spending time with the President of the Macedonian Ice Hockey Federation , Mr. Nikola Tasev ... yeah 2014 was a good year meeting all these awesome people around the world trying to make the best for the game in their countries . Nikola definitely is a sportsman and a visionary , they will hopefully be competing in World Championships in the next couple years !!!!

Next country was Greece with my first stop in Thessaloniki to meet up with Dimitrios Tzagkas , or at least that was the original plan . It all changed when i met my Iraklis team mates in Skopje and got even crazier when i accidentally was wandering around the bus terminal and bumped into Dimitris Profentzas who is one of the Iraklis guys :) yeah from then on Thessaloniki became a drinking adventure and a great start to my trip to Greece . I met Dimitrios once while sober and the next time wow , can't even explain what i was at that moment LOL ! Athens was next and that is where i would earn my next flag on my bag . I was put in touch with a guy that owns a rink in Athens ... the rink is called Ice N' Skate here is the Facebook link : the rink owner is named Iosif Kapetanidis and was an amazing guy that got me ice time on 2 of the 3 nights that i would be in Athens ! First with the Athens Warriors then with his Ice N' Skate team ... both teams were great to be with and really showed me how they have fun there :)

The next tournament on this whirlwind 3 tournament dream trip was in Novi Sad, Serbia and the only reason i had this opportunity was because of Nebojsa Ivanov who is an IIHF ref , one of the tournament organizers AND is also the goalie for the home team . When i contacted him i am sure he was confused about this goalie wanting to travel halfway across the planet to play in their tournament :) told you i would ! He was gracious enough to step aside and let me play goal for his club and instead he played defense in a couple games ... he was also kinda happy he didn't have to be on the ice so much as he was reffing a bunch of games too ! With my GentlemeNS HK team mates we went all the way to the final but unfortunately lost 3-1 but honestly this was probably the only tournament i have ever played in and lost with a smile ... yeah i know if you know me you are shaking your head now right :) These guys fought until the end , and i made some seriously amazing friends because of this tournament and for that i would say this was by far the best tournament i played in this year and possibly the best i have ever played in ... that can be debated in another post in the future . I can't even begin to mention names of people i met there and hung out with because there were so many friends ... 

Above is a pic of one of my tv interviews i did on this last trip , this one was in Serbia and the next one would be in my next country i visited ... Hungary ! Where i was meeting up with Rainer again :) This was the 5th country i would meet up with him to play hockey in this year , and the last one because as you know (if you read my blog ) that he didn't make it to England or Wales with me :( I had to play for 2 teams in this tournament ... The Rainman AllStars & the Slovakian Bulldogs ... things didn't work out so well with the Rainman Allstars mainly because of this really weak player named Mikko or Mikka ... i don't really care he is irrelevant anyways as those guys were mainly there too party and i was already wiped out from the weeks of partying i had been through at that point so my only regret is that i didn't party enough in Budapest but i am happy that i had the opportunity to meet another IIHF ref named Zoltan Sos . Zoli took me skating at Hero's Square on the biggest and oldest outdoor rink in all of Europe !!! To top that all off he took me to meet Attila Ambrus ( which i will write about ) aka The Whiskey Robber ... Zoli drove me out to Kecskemet to meet him and i skipped one of my Bulldogs games for it but it was totally worth it ! Unfortunately the Rainman Allstars were knocked out of group stage and i was lucky enough to move onto the semi's with my Bulldogs team . You guys were great thanks for having me , sorry i didn't play so great in the last games :( ... yes my game was falling apart this one day but i sharpened up for my next country ....

Next country in 2014 was England which was a quick stop in London where i watched Aston Villa beat Crystal Palace ( YES ! ) then i headed off to Wales without Rainer ... that was the main theme of this part of my trip as i had to re-arrange everything and basically travelled by the seat of my pants figuring stuff out as i went .... thankfully i met some great guys in Barcelona from a team called the Cardiff Titans , thanks to Anton Rimko i was hooked up with a place to stay , an ice time and a ride out to meet my next ride to get to Sheffield .... i stayed in Cardiff for a total of maybe 22 hours :) but it was well worth it getting to play in my 30th country ... and yes i don't care what anyone thinks , Wales is a country ! As i said i wasn't there very long but i am hoping to meet up with these guys again ... if not in Cardiff probably in Windsor at the CARHA World Championships ... slight chance i might be there goalie :) 
The last country i played hockey in aside from Canada of course was in England when i met up with my good friends in Sheffield ... yeah i played awesome in those 2 skates out there and totally dominated LOL ... seriously :) Meeting up with Dazza and Sarah and Karl and Mark and Lisa and even Onsey was great ! Made a bunch of new friends there and hopefully will continue to meet them at tournaments in the future ... this post has gotten a bit long winded and i'm sorry for that if i'm boring you all . Unfortunately i don't care LOL ! This was a great year and i would give it a 9 out of 10 based on the other years i have lived through ... if next year is half as good as this then i will be happy but i hardly doubt it will kick off like 2014 as i will be home and not in Liechtenstein on the side of a mountain .... 

I'm gonna end 2014 the same way i ended 2013 ... kinda ... last year i was in Davos,Switzerland to watch the Spengler Cup Final and this year i'm going to watch Russia vs. Czech Rep. in the World Jr. Championships .... lets see what happens on Jan.1st maybe just a skate in the park down the road ? Then we'll see what happens next :) 

Happy New Year's to everyone reading , especially to those that made 2014 so memorable whether i mentioned you or not in this post , i am thinking about all of you and hope to see you all in 2015 !!!! 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Thank You Balkans & UK :P

Alright i have been home now for 2 weeks and its about time i said thank you to those that made this trip so friggin awesome , man i keep daydreaming about all the amazing people i met on this trip and really there are too many to thank for making this one of the best trips i have ever been on ... let's start with the person that picked me up at the airport in Skopje , Macedonia ... the crazy German ... Mr. Zoki ! Without Zoki i wouldn't have ended up there , he is the guy i was bugging to make sure this tournament fell in place so i could make this 3 tournament in 3 weeks trip . Zoki is also the first person i had drinks with on this trip and he's also the guy i pestered the most about my crazy sim card that probably still doesn't work LOL ... don't worry about in anymore Zoki ! Zoki also introduced me to everyone you can imagine while i was there including a former pro hockey player that i hung out with quite a bit named Jure Vnuk ... this guy really is a person that i definitely will meet up with again as their is no doubt that we became good friends . Check out Jure's stats ... impressive? yup ! He took me to my first handball game i have ever seen and then we both went from the handball game to an international soccer game together . It was one of the better nights i had on this trip ! Then there was Rainer LOL :P yup he was there hahaha, sleeping in the hotel elevator , i am mentioning this because i met the most amazing hotel employee i have ever met on all my travels that went above and beyond to make sure we had fun ... Kire Nadzinski worked nights while we were there and yeah he has some good stories to tell i'm sure he should start a blog of his own hahaha! Kire works at , if you are ever in Skopje which i gotta tell ya is a great place to go have a really cheap fun vacation ... its' not one of those hot tourist destinations but its definitely one of my favorites . It's gotta be because of the people i met ... i have to also thank the Macedonian Hockey Federation , thank you for having me there for your amazing event and best of luck to you guys in the future ... i will be watching you my friends ! 

Before i forget i gotta thank Iraklis Hockey Club from Thessaloniki,Greece for taking me in and letting me play for your team + i can't remember the night we had in Thessaloniki :P wow what a night LOL ! I hope you guys continue to get better at the game we all love and i hope you guys get a nice big indoor ice rink some day soon so i can visit you again , my stay in Thessaloniki was way too short :( i'll be back ! 
After Thessaloniki i made my way to Athens ... what can i say about Athens that hasn't been said before . It's unreal ! I stayed at Hotel Adrian and was kinda lonely there after the hangover wore off , its the first time i have done a hop on hop off tour alone and to be honest it was kinda weird being alone for those couple days . Regardless i did make some great friends with the help of Iosif Kapetanidis who is the owner of the Ice n Skate  rink  . Iosif hooked me up to skate with the Athens Warriors and after the skate i hung out with him drinking beers talking hockey and that really meant a lot to me ... thanks for the free beer Iosif and thank you for doing what you do ! Owning a rink in Athens must be a crazy thing and i for one would like to thank you for that .... keep up the great work and also thanks for the skate with your Ice N Skate hockey club ... it was awesome seeing you strap the pads on even if it was the wrong way LOL ! 

After my few days in Greece i dragged my wet equipment onto my Aegean flight , thanks for not charging me overweight fees LOL ! I was on my way to Serbia ... there i was bugging this guy named Nebojsa Ivanov  who is one of the organizers of the tournament in Novi Sad . I took a bus over to Novi Sad from Belgrade as there is no airport in Novi Sad and when i arrived Nebojsa and the fat guy met me LOL ... wish i knew "the fat guys" name but it was hard to learn since everyone simply referred to him as the fat guy ! That's how funny and loose people are in Serbia , its all for fun and everyone knows it and that's what i experienced there and it made making friends so easy . I had the honour of playing for the local club which is also the host club ... GentlemeNS Hokej Klub . Nebojsa and the rest of the locals went out of their way to make sure i didn't get lost but i still did and i swear next time i am there i won't get lost i promise guys :) HAHAHAHA!!!! We lost in the final and then i had that tear jerker moment when the fat guy presented me with a club jersey to take home and i almost burst ... in fact i am almost in tears now writing this .... i kissed the logo thinking nobody saw this but i think everyone did . Thanks guys ! I had a tv interview while i was there too which you can find attached to this article that Nebojsa wrote about me hope you all get a good laugh ! One of the coolest guys i met at the tournament was the bartender .... can't forget you Strahinja as you were the last person i got to see in Novi Sad , thanks for the ride to the bus station ... i would have got lost without you LOL !

I headed back to Belgrade and remember i was there for a night already , it was nothing eventful aside from getting lost on the way back to my hotel which i decided not to stay at again and opted for something nicer . Over the last 2 tournaments there were a couple familiar faces that i knew , particularly Uros Banovic and Aleksandar Mijuskovic who both lived in Belgrade unfortunately Uros had to take off for business but Aleksandar took the time to show me around Belgrade and explain a lot about the city to me which was pretty awesome , thanks ! My nightlife manager was Jovan Popov who i met in Novi Sad where we became good friends the first night we met . Jovan came out both nights to hang out in Belgrade even though he had to work in the mornings and that is tough but he is still young ! When i left Serbia i remember telling a Serb that Serbians are amazing people and he was surprised and said that only 20% are maybe good .... i told him well i must be really lucky because 100% of the Serbians i met were amazing ... honestly Serbia and in particular Novi Sad is one of my favorite places in the world , i would highly suggest that everyone visits as its cheap , historic and the people if you ask me are genuine ... thanks to all those i met in Serbia that i didn't mention especially those that organize and are members of the GentlemeNS Hokej Klub . 

Budapest , Hungary was next ... back with Rainer . I got there a day early to see a bit of the city and start my search for Attila Ambrus and without the help of Zoltan Sos i would never be able to cross meeting The Whiskey Robber off my bucket list . Zoli met me through Hockey Community and is the HC ambassador in Hungary as i am the HC ambassador in Toronto ... we are in an ambassadors group on Facebook and met through there . Zoli made sure to greet me properly as he was always on time and quite the gentleman . As i said this trip would not have been as awesome as it was without the people i met and this guy is really the reason i smile when i think about Budapest ... he showed me the rink at Hero's Square the first night then the next morning picked me up and took me there for a skate which i keep daydreaming about ... what an awesome feeling that was ! But to top it all he drove me to Kecskemet ,Hungary to search for and find Attila Ambrus !!!!! Thank you Zoli for being such an amazing host and i hope to see you in Toronto some day ? I gotta thank Rainer for getting me on 2 teams for this tournament and i know some people like Stefan Jager took it so hard that i didn't play their 3rd game that he took me off Facebook but really people like that aren't the reason i am travelling and spending thousands of dollars to meet and experience .... no i'm not harping on Stefan but really why would you take me off Facebook ? I was playing for another team that i was booked to play for from the get go and they were going to the playoffs and your team wasn't and we had another goalie that i told to play that game but didn't show ... to top it all off i bought a round of beers for the team after the game and brought it personally to the room myself ... in fact i even put one in your hand Stefan , so i guess i should say you're welcome :P Can't forget to mention that i had a TV interview in Budapest also which you can see by following this link .... . Before i finish talking about Hungary i want to thank Rainer for organizing everything and the rest of the Rainman Allstars , also want to thank my Slovakian Bulldogs team mates for playing so amazing and making it to the semi-finals and i want to thank the tournament organizers for putting together a nice tournament in a really nice rink . Oh yeah i can't forget the psychopaths called the Norwegian Penguins , its always great meeting up with Bjorn aka the Drunken Goalie and Thomas aka i want to be Rainer when i grow up LOL ! hope to see you guys in Tachov this spring :) 

Things got messy after Hungary and i gotta thank Lufthansa for going on strike and messing everything up for me and Rainer !!! I've said it before and i'll say it again , flying just ain't what it used to be :( I ended up in the UK alone ... well i'm never really alone LOL ! I gotta thank the Kidderminster Lions club for sorting me out with tickets to 2 Aston Villa games ... the usual suspects were there ... Paul , Elvis and Gary thanks guys for making both games memorable , yes beer helps my memory :P It wasn't all about football of course i made my way to Cardiff , Wales to meet Anton Rimko who was a super host letting me stay with his family for the night and organizing my ice time with his friends there . Thanks to all the guys out in Cardiff that i met , hope to see you guys in Windsor at the CARHA World Cup in 2016 :) Gotta thank Anton for getting his brother Andrej to drive me out to meet Nick Onslow  in Gloucester and i gotta thank Nick for getting me up to Sheffield . More then anything i gotta thank Darren aka Dazza for organizing my place to stay , hockey and all the entertainment one can offer when visiting one's city ! Can't forget Mark , Lisa and Sarah for being gracious hosts also .... i'm sure you guys are permanently scarred by the flashing of my Christmas jumper LMAO ! Sorry i was so wiped out by the time i got there , travelling for 5 weeks is tough ...especially when you travel with me .  

I hope i didn't miss anyone important and that is not to say that anyone i didn't mention wasn't important its just that i could write a novel if i thanked every single person i interacted with on this trip ... honestly there is well over 100 people that i am thinking of as i write this and if you are thinking about me then that means more to me then writing about it ... don't try to understand what i just said just know its as genuine as the people i mentioned in this blog .... Thank you everyone !!! 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Last Day in Europe @ Villa Park :)

Really glad that i turned in early the night before this , unfortunately Karl went all out on his bday and i am pretty sure they stayed up until 4 or 5 am getting on the piss ... good on 'em but we gotta get to Birmingham and we have to leave at 10 AM to make this all work out . Rainer never showed up so i got a ride with Karl who i am pretty sure was in rough shape when i woke him up ... he basically got up jumped into his car and we left ... gotta thank Mark & Lisa for their hospitality letting us sleep at their place , but i also have to laugh when i mention that the air mattress i woke up on had no air in it :) regardless it was comfy , i think ? 


So first things first and this is the plan , we drive from Sheffield to Birmingham going directly to Villa Park to buy some gear ... i bought a new toque/hat , an old jersey and some Christmas bobbles :) then we head to the hotel that Rainer booked for us . The plan was to drop gear and head to Karl's and go from there but we figured we were behind schedule and it was best for me to drop my stuff and go directly to meet the Kiddy Lions at the Aston Tavern which is newly renovated ... apparently the New Adventurers is not what it quite used to be last year when we had a private party room :( oh well ... i dropped my stuff , showered up and got my Villa gear on and called a taxi . Of course with my luck i have a bluenose bastard taxi driver , who was kinda funny and told me that he hopes my team loses when he dropped me off ! He's lucky i didn't let the crowds of people know he was a bluenose LOL :P When i got in the Aston Tavern i went straight to the bar as i knew i would find the guys that way and of course there they were on the other side of the bar LOL ... Paul,Elvis and Gary with a few relatives getting ready for the big game ... a day at church if i may . Soon enough my English buddy that i know from Toronto shows up ... James March and a bit after Karl lets me know he is lost so Elvis' nephew ran off to gather him LOL ! 

We make our way to our seats just in time for the kickoff and get to our section in the legendary Holte End ... to be specific its the Lower Holte . Gorgeous , i love it ! This is Villa Park with all its glory ... and to top it all off my San Diego friends are sitting in front of us :) Simon and Jim were with me at the match in London too , we met last summer in Texas and have stayed in touch ! Yes you guys have my vote for our North American meet up to be in San Diego , yes i want to come back from Tijuana with sparkles on my face LOL ! ( inside joke ) Is it possible that i get to see Villa win at Villa Park for my first time ? I saw them win at Selhurst Park the game before so winning 2 in a row would be unreal wouldn't it ? Well .... cue the celebration ! You can only imagine how wild it was to see Alan Hutton score the winner at the 71st minute ... 

For once it was a great feeling to see Villa fans at the pub after the match actually celebrating ... i am used to seeing my friends sip their beer with their heads in their hands upset over a loss , this was awesome ... i mean actually seeing my friends celebrating a win ! James took off but Karl came over to The Social with Jim , Simon and myself and we met a couple of Dublin Lions , it was great meeting you Aideen finally :) There is something special about meeting other Villa fans , maybe its just special for me being from Toronto and receiving all the attention as an outsider or maybe its because most people in Toronto cheer for the "popular" clubs like ManUre or Liverpuddle but regardless its awesome being an Aston Villa supporter . On a day like this it was extra special and i hope the next time i visit Villa Park i get to experience watching the Villa win again . Unfortunately i didn't get to see my mate Ben as he was at another pub but it was nice to see Craig Allsop ... i gotta stop gushing over Villa LOL .

Well of course this wouldn't be one of my trips without having any problems ... my bank card didn't work and i had to borrow 40 quid from Simon Tissington , which i repaid the minute i landed back home ... if it weren't for Simon i probably wouldn't have made it to the airport the next morning as i needed a taxi (of course) ! I wanna thank the Kidderminster Lions , San Diego Lions and Aston Villa Football Club for making this last day on this trip one of the best .... tomorrow i fly back home :(