Celebrate New Year's Eve in Las Vegas and double up to see two games in 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 an opportunity in Florida to see two Leafs 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. So pack your team sweaters, because, just maybe, this could be the year the Leafs make a strong Stanley Cup run.
Hail Caesar! (Dec. 12)
You can give family and friends an early Christmas present with tickets to the Leafs game at Hockeytown USA's new US$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 Caesar's 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. The lively bronze and glass statues of Wings legends Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay and Alex Delvecchio are a highlight.
Stay here: The Atheneum Suite Hotel is a popular hotel for hockey, football and baseball fans who enjoy staying in the Greektown District, near the casino and a five-minute drive away from the new arena on the hotel's shuttle service.
Happy New Year! (Dec. 31)
You can get an early chance to ring in the new year at an afternoon game against the NHL's newest team, the Vegas Golden Knights. The Knights are playing in the ultra-modern US$350-million T-Mobile Arena, featuring world-class Las Vegas-style design and premium seating, including 44 luxury suites, on the Vegas Strip. Managed by MGM Resorts International, a can't-miss feature is the nightclub areas in the upper rafters that provide a bird's-eye view of the entire floor below.
Stay here: It's Las Vegas on New Year's Eve, so you have unlimited choice of accommodations. One option near T-Mobile Arena is the Mandarin Oriental at City Center, recognized for its superb service and five-star dining. Guests can enjoy modern French fusion cuisine at Twist by Pierre Gagnaire. The hotel has a 27,000-square-foot Shanghai-themed spa featuring a Chinese foot spa and various heat and water experiences.
Score big in the Sunshine State (Feb. 26-27)
What better time to soak up some sun and vitamin D then leaving the Great White North to join fellow Canadian Snowbirds at a Maple Leaf-Tampa Bay Lightning game Feb. 26 at the Amalie Arena. You'll get excellent seats that cost 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 Leafs squad.
Stay here: Close to Tampa International Airport and a 15-minute drive from the rink, the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay Hotel features two outdoor pools, three restaurants, and fitness centre, hot tub and spa services.
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, Ont.'s Aaron Ekblad heads the defensive corps, with centres Vincent Trochek and Aleksander Barkov providing skill down the middle.
Stay here: Leafs fans can stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton Sunrise - Sawgrass Mills, only 1.5 kilometres from the arena. Guests can enjoy a full a breakfast buffet and relax in the heated outdoor pool, hot tub, fitness centre or go shopping next door at the Sawgrass Mills Retail Outlets.
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