Top Road Trip Destinations for Leaf Nation this Season
Double up and see 2 games on the same trip to California and Florida
The Toronto Maple Leafs enter the 2017-2018 season with much promise after making the Stanley Cup playoffs after a long absence for their loyal fans starved of post-season play. The young Buds, led by NHL Rookie-of-the-Year Auston Matthews, and the skilled and speedy wingers Mitch Marner and William Nylander will be entertaining to watch at home and on the road this season.
You can hit the road with them and experience some incredible cities all at the same time! A quick review of their schedule will let you plan some creative trips, including opportunities in California and Florida to see two Leaf games in two cities on the same trip.
Booking.com, the global leader in connecting travellers with more than one million incredible places to stay, has the details on the top cities to visit as the Leafs take on their biggest rivals. Now, get your Leaf sweaters packed, because just maybe this could be the year the Leafs take the Stanley Cup back to the 6!
CALIFORNIA DREAMING (November 1-2)
Here’s your chance to enjoy a November 1 game against the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center with palm trees outside and 30 bars and restaurants inside, including Bowl’d Over 433 featuring a one-pound house made meatball over penne, Outlaws Smokehouse 224 with their smoked brisket, and the Sierra Nevada Draught House where a cool pint of local craft beer awaits.
Stay here: After a long day of battling crowds through the Honda Center, wined down and enjoy the evening at Anaheim’s Hotel Pepper Tree. This quaint little hotel offers studio kitchen suites giving road trippers the perfect place enjoy the rest of their stay in Cali. Don’t forget to check out the hotel’s patio pool deck, surrounded by lounge chairs and BBQ’s to really soak up that California sunshine.
Following the Leaf – Ducks game, take the I-5 north to the City of Angels from Anaheim for a November 2 tilt against the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center, home of the Kings, Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers. Hockey fans will instantly recognize statues of Wayne Gretzky and Lu Robitaille among the basketball and boxing legends’ statues in Star Plaza outside. Always keep an eye out for celebrities in the crowd who have been attending since the Great One played for the Kings.
Stay here: Hotel Indigo is so new, even the Uber drivers have trouble finding it. Only five minutes from the Staples Center, the modern rooms provide panoramic views of downtown L.A. It’s worth walking around the corner from the hotel for a meal at the 24-hour Original Pantry Café diner, a staple in the community since 1924.
HAIL CAESAR! (December 12)
You can give family and friends an early Christmas present with tickets to the Leafs’ game at Hockeytown USA’s new $1-billion Little Caesars Arena - a vision of the late Mike Ilitch, his wife Marian and the Ilitch family, owners of the Detroit Red Wings and Little Caesars Pizza. The multi-purpose arena features a unique, glass-roofed concourse connecting it to a new sports and entertainment district in and around downtown Detroit. A highlight are the lively bronze and glass statues of Wings’ legends Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay and Alex Delvecchio.
Stay here: Set only steps away from Little Caesars Arena in Detroit Michigan, the Inn at 97 Winder will have you feeling like royalty while on your road trip. This Inn, though small packs a major punch with its more than unique décor style, combining baroque interiors with eclectic colour schemes, this Inn puts an interesting spin on the classic 1600’s vibe—we know hockey fans can appreciate décor too.
SCORE BIG IN THE SUNSHINE STATE (February 26-27)
What better time to soak up some vitamin D then leaving the Great White North to join fellow Canadian Snowbirds at a Maple Leaf-Tampa Bay Lightning game February 26 at the Amalie Arena for excellent seats costing considerably less than downtown Toronto. The surging Lightning, led by superstar Captain Steve Stamkos from Markham and a supporting cast that includes stars Victor Hedman and Nikita Kucherov will be a tough test for a talented young Maple Leaf squad.
Stay here: Close to Tampa International Airport and a 15-minute drive from the rink, the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay Hotel features 2 outdoor pools, 3 restaurants, and fitness centre, hot tub and spa services. Make sure not to fill up on brew and hot dogs during the game and save some room for Grand Hyatt’s Italian inspired cuisine, at their on-site restaurant Oystercatchers, we recommend you try their specialty Lobster Macaroni and Cheese—YUM!
Continue the Florida road trip by driving cross-state the next morning to Sunrise, near Fort Lauderdale, where the Buds will be facing off against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center. The Panthers will have starter Roberto Luongo or former popular Maple Leaf James Reimer in net. Windsor Ontario’s Aaron Ekblad heads the defensive corps, with centers Vincent Trochek and Aleksander Barkov providing skill down the middle.
Stay here: Leaf fans can stay at Sawgrass Apartments in Sawgrass Mills, only a 15-minute walk to the arena, guests can enjoy the luxury of a full private apartment style suite all to themselves. Looking to shop till you drop? This spot is in the prime location, only minutes away from the city centre or steps away from the next-door Sawgrass Mills Retail Outlets.