The Stag Do has arrived!
All four guys will head away to the bright lights of Las Vegas on early Sunday morning, and you can keep up with all the action both here and across our social media platforms all week long.
From the bus to Dublin to the final stumble back into the SSE Arena for the game against the Fife Flyers on Friday 25th, we’ll keep you up to date with how much Marty, Dave, Aaron – and of course the Stag himself; John are!
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Whenever they get time, the guys will do some quick write-ups of the experience here too!
Day1: 2:20am – Belfast
Here we go! It’s the first leg, and a few beers have been knocked back along with a couple pizzas, and OFF WE GO! The 2:30 AirCoach is about to depart, and we have the “monorail” song from The Simpson’s stuck in our heads (don’t ask why, we don’t know either!). Pints and a fry await in Dublin Airport before the flight to Gatwick.
7:50am – Somewhere over the Irish Sea
Wow, what a view! Inbound to Gatwick and only one more flight until Vegas!
10am – Gatwick gate 563
“We’re on our way, we’re on our way, off to Vegas, we’re on our way. How do we get there? I don’t know? How do we get there? I don’t care! All I know is we are on our way!”
In-flight update: several of the team are finding the going tough!
End of Day 1, 9pm local time (Sunday).
We set off some 28 hours ago, and we’re about to put our heads down. An epic first few hours in Vegas has seen all four of us get vertigo inside the Luxor hotel, take a trip down the strip and witness the Bellagio Fountains first hand, get RSI in our necks from looking at all the pretty lights on the buildings and toast the stag-do with the first beers in town.
Tomorrow though, game 1 is approaching as Dave’s Minnesota Wild roll into Vegas and will be our first game at the T-Mobile Arena at an early public holiday game against the Golden Knights.
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End of day 1 and the guys are all headed for bed after being up for well over 24 hours (mostly). An evening stroll down the famous #LasVegasStrip with stops at the #Excalibur and the #BellagioFountains then a quick #HardRockCafe burger. Game no.1 tomorrow as the @minnesotawild come to town and maybe even some time at the tables and slot machines too!
Day 2 – 9am, Buxie Las Vegas.
The lads managed to make it to the wee small hours of 9:30pm last night before hitting the sack…..as Donald Glover once said, “we’re getting too old for this shit”.
But that means an early rise and a a dander back down the strip for breakfast in Bruxie’s Waffle House on Las Vegas Blvd in the shadow of the T-Mobile Arena.
The plans for today are: hit the casino floor and get a few beers in before the 3pm face-off. Sorted.
Day 3 – 2pm, somewhere between Las Vegas and Los Angeles!
So, last night was epic! Marty and Aaron bore witness to their first ever NHL games and it’s fair to say that “The Fortress” didn’t disappoint!
From the moment the Golden Knight pulled the sword from the stone at centre ice until the end of the game, the craic was 90! We even got a few wee Giants chants going to a great response from locals and Minnesotans too, who even joined in on a few once they knew what we were singing! Lots of selfies and group shots too with hockey fans who were seriously interested in the Giants logos, wonder if they’ll be the same tomorrow with the D14 ones?! That’s where the memories stop though, as the beer took over (most notably the arena’s Kilt Lifter ale).
Anyway, we’re on the road now to LA to go watch Kevin Smith and Marc Bernardin record their own podcast, Fatman Beyond. The landscape here is amazing and the scale of it all is like nothing any of us have experienced. It’s weird to be surrounded by this much sand but be a hundred miles or more from any water!
11:30pm – Outskirts of Los Angeles on the way back to Las Vegas
Holy sh*t! If that wasn’t an experience that’ll be remembered! The guys all just spent the last few hours watching a podcast be recorded after a 4 and a half hour drive. Now, we know what you’re thinking; “you guys do that yourselves, why would you want to watch someone else do it?” – well, because not only are we all hockey and podcast enthusiasts, we are huge geeks and tonight we sat in a Star Wars themed bar called the Scum and Villainy Cantina on Hollywood Blvd and watched as director, actor and king of the nerds Kevin Smith recorded one of his Smodcast podcasts; FATMAN BEYOND with his co-host Marc Bernardin – and what’s more, John even got the chance to get up and talk to them and be part of the podcast too!
We want to say a huge thanks to Ryan, our new best American friend for really pulling out all the stops for four guys he only just met and making sure this happened!
Earlier though after arriving, the guys did have a chance to do a little site-seeing and visited the historic Chinese Theatre, and filled our geek tanks up by checking out some of our favourite stars’ impressions they’ve left, especially important was the late great Stan Lee.
We’re back on the road now and should hit Vegas at around 3:30 am local time (11:30 am GMT) and head straight for bed…probably….as there are axes to throw tomorrow morning before another epic trip to the T-Mobile arena as the Vegas Golden Knights take on John’s Nashville Predators!
Day 4 – 2pm Vegas
After what was a fairly epic road trip yesterday, it could’ve been so easy just to sleep into the afternoon, but not for these lads! Bed at 4:30am, up again at 9:30 to head into East Vegas to Axe Monkeys, and indoor axe and blade throwing parlour!
Bobby, our trainer and occasional babysitter, took us by the hand as all of the guys took their turns hurling steel into timber. Honestly, you want to vent some pent up aggression, go throw an axe and if you ever find yourself in Vegas, we fully recommend spending some time here at Axe Monkeys!!
Next up for us, a trip to a hockey weekend stalwart – HOOTERS, for wings and beers before we head back up to The Fortress, the T-Mobile Arena, for the main event. The Nashville Predators versus the Las Vegas Golden Knights. (Go Preds Go!)
Day 5 (last day) – 9am McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas.
Well, what about last night?! That was epic. Not only did the Predators win, but it was one hell of a game and significant for many reasons.
1. Jusse Saros faced the most shots in his career in nets for the Preds and came out with the win.
2. That win is the first time the Preds have come to Vegas and taken the points in franchise history.
3. Uuuum, looks like P.K. Subban got bitten….waiting to see what comes of that!!
After a game like that, it wasn’t going to be easy to relax, so the guys hit the casino floor one last time in the Luxor and had, shall we say a mixed bag of success!
Now though, it’s home time. We’ve checked out of the hotel, Uber’d to the airport and said our goodbyes to Aaron who’s headed to San Francisco a flying work engagement and were sat waiting for our flight to LAX to begin leg one of the journey home to Belfast.
SSE Arena, put the kettle on – we’ll be there for the Flyers game!
Day 5 – 1:30pm LAX Terminal 2
Two flights to go. We’ve made it as far as LA once more (although this time MUCH faster!) and now have around half an hour until boarding our flight to Heathrow. It was a nice final touch in Vegas to take off down the runway and pass the Luxor on our way, and amazingly all of us have said we’d come back again – something I’m not sure we would’ve said before…but all of us can confidently say that everyone should experience the lights and 24 hour insanity that is Las Vegas!
Now, just to get back to Belfast with all this in tow…
Day 6 I guess?? 6:50pm – SSE Arena, Belfast
Well, it’s all over, and what better way to sign off than with a visit to our church, the home of the Belfast Giants and walking through the door that gives the podcast its name?
Although when the Stag is the last man standing, is that a win for him or a loss for the others?
It was an epic trip. All four of us will look back on it with some epic memories, only some of which made it to this blog and to instagram!
Thanks to everyone we met on this trip from Vegas, LA, Minnesota, Nashville and anywhere else for that matter. The people really made this trip.
Finally, thank you to all of you who’ve followed along over the last week. This blog is designed to be something for us to look back on in years to come and for me (John) to always remember how goddamn epic my mates are.
Aaron, Dave and especially my best man Martin – thanks for the ride of a lifetime, brothers!