It’s nearly that time of year again.  August’s summer heat’s about to give way to September’s cool summer breeze—unless you live in the South or Southwest of the United States, in which case, congrats, you still have another six weeks at least of 85-degree heat!  But no matter whether you hail from the sweltering streets of LA or the comparatively-frigid climes of Saskatoon, one thing’s for certain:

We’re getting ever closer to the start of another NHL season playing The Good Old Hockey Game!  (Admit it, Stomping Tom’s song immediately started playing in your head when you read that.)

Hockey fans are some of the best-traveled in the world, so what cities and teams are most deserving of your tourism attention this year, and which of these cities have the most potential for would-be immigrants looking for a fresh start somewhere?

Let’s drop the puck and get this Top 10 NHL Vacation and Immigration Getaways List underway!

 

Los Angeles

"Los Angeles Kings Game @ Staples Center" by LosAngelesKingFanWhooHooyeah - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Los_Angeles_Kings_Game_@_Staples_Center.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Los_Angeles_Kings_Game_@_Staples_Center.jpg

Kings Game by LosAngelesKingsFanWhooHooyeah / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Given that they’re the reigning Kings of the NHL, LA should be a pretty obvious choice.  With the best goalie in the league in Jonathan Quick and arguably the most clutch group of players in the league, the Kings look poised to return to the playoffs—so why not fly south for the winter and enjoy a great hockey game along with the glitz and glamor you’d expect from LA?

If you’re looking to immigrate to the Southland, an added piece of advice—check your bank account first.  The entire San Fernando Valley, where LA is situated, is one of the most expensive places to live in the entire United States.  There are many reasons that Southern California is famously a car-happy area, and this is one of them, as thousands of residents commute to the main city from other areas of LA County.  Look to those other areas for affordability (if not necessarily the sights) and in the meantime, stop by Staples Center to watch the defending Stanley Cup Champions.

 

Anaheim

Honda Center Exterior by Arnold C Buchanan-Hermit Licensed under Attribution via Wikimedia Commons

Honda Center by Arnold C / Wikimedia Commons

Anaheim makes the list for a few reasons, not the least of which is, of course, its incredible NHL team.  The Ducks have arguably the best all-around roster this season, so if you’re a traveling NHL fan and want to see one of the best teams in the league—one that’ll hopefully top LA this year—then why not give Anaheim a shot?

If you live outside the Southern California area, there’s a tendency to treat the whole region as if it’s just that, one area.  However, Los Angeles and Orange County—where Anaheim is—are two very different regions culturally and otherwise.  For example, Orange County’s home to some of So Cal’s finest high-class restaurants, museums, theatres and—oy—yes, Disneyland.  You can also catch an Angels game at The Big A, Angel Stadium.  As for the Ducks themselves, they play in state-of-the-art Honda Center—but true fans will always know the place simply as “The Pond.”

To get the most bang for your buck, be sure to go during hockey season—and not just because you want to catch Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and the greatest offense in the NHL.  As you may or may not have heard, one thing LA and Orange County have in common is that they’re both very, very hot in summer, so going during those fall or winter months can be a great way to experience the gleaming suburban beauty of the area without suffering from 95-degree heat.

That being said, if the Ducks and Kings face off again in the playoffs, you might just want to book a return trip this summer—just be sure to pack extra sunscreen.

 

New York

"Madison Square Garden" by Firefox13 - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Madison_Square_Garden.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Madison_Square_Garden.jpg

MSG by Firefox13 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Oh, New York, New York

You and your unofficial Sinatra-sung anthem seem to crack just about any list

If you’re a hockey fan, know that The Big Apple’s making this list is entirely for Madison Square Garden—one of the most historic venues in all of North American sport—and the Eastern Conference Champion Rangers.

But back to New York itself.  Do we even need to say why NYC makes the list?

Listing all the sights to see in one of the Top 10 Cities of the World wouldn‘t just take up an article all by itself, it’d fill an entire travel guide.

So instead of boring you with the details about that, or musing over just what went wrong for the Rangers in the Stanley Cup final—when your goalie makes 50+ saves and you still lose the game, that’s not the fault of your goalie or defense—let’s talk about one of the main forces that have made NYC what it is today, immigration.  Sinatra’s song’s right about New York—if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere, and immigrants know that.  Over the centuries millions upon millions of immigrants from all over the world have come to America looking for opportunity, and NYC is often their first stop. 

Italians, Irish, Jews, Arabs, Puerto Ricans, Greeks, Latinos, Indians, Thai—

Name a group, and they’ve both made it and made their own way in New York.

That being said, the price of success is often steep, and so is the cost of living in New York, so if you’re going to immigrate, you might want to consider instead moving to an area outside the Five Boroughs proper. 

Book your US Visa appointment

 

Boston

"BostonGardenNHL" by Troy Parla (Troy_Parla) - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BostonGardenNHL.jpg#mediaviewer/File:BostonGardenNHL.jpg

Boston Garden by Tony Parla / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Historic Boston Garden is one of the great venues in the sport.

The Bruins are an Original Six team with Stanley Cup aspirations.

Enough said there.

As for Boston itself, it’s one of the best places you could visit as a Canadian tourist in the United States.  The climate’s similar, the city’s as rich with history as any in the States, has a proud history of immigration—especially with regards to Irish immigrants—and Boston’s generally understood to be an extremely-classy, high-culture place to live and visit.

(Unless you’re a Canadiens fan, of course.)

 

Detroit

"Red Wings retired Banners" by Schmackity - Self-photographed. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Red_Wings_retired_Banners.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Red_Wings_retired_Banners.jpg

Joe Louis by Schmackity / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

There are two kinds of people in this world, folks—

Red Wings fans, and everyone else.

Put me in the latter category.

Why on Earth is the Motor City on this list?  After all, the fact that Detroit’s gone bust in a bad way is anything but a secret at this point.  What’s more, even Hockeytown itself is looking a little less than impressive these days, as the Wings aren’t quite what they used to be.

So, that’s one reason to go to Detroit—prices may well be cheaper in such an economically-depressed area, and if you’re a hockey fan, you should visit at least once.

However, if you’re of Arab descent, this suggestion should carry special meaning to you.  Detroit is the proud home to the largest population of Arab immigrants in the United States, and is one of the main areas immigrants from that part of the world have come to for decades.  If you’re looking to immigrate there for economic opportunity—don’t.  The citizens themselves are still waiting for that to come back.  But if you’re looking to move for cultural familiarity, Detroit’s a great immigration destination for Arabs, and you can help be part of the recovery.

Just, please—root for another team.

 

Toronto

"Air Canada Centre from CN Tower". Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Air_Canada_Centre_from_CN_Tower.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Air_Canada_Centre_from_CN_Tower.jpg

ACC [Public Domain]

Toronto is, along with New York and Boston, one of the true jewels of the Northeast, featuring everything from fantastic museums, opera houses, theatres and universities to MLB’s Toronto Blue Jays and, of course, the ever-competitive Toronto Maple Leafs.

…Sorry, Toronto fans.  That was a cruel joke.

But hey, remember, it could be worse—you could be Senators fans.

In all seriousness, though, this is a must-see city for any American, and one of the most underrated prospective destinations for immigrant in North America.

Read about the Ontario Provincial Nominee Program Get a Visitor Visa to Canada

 

Vancouver

"GM Place 2005" by Mr. Leung - http://flickr.com/photos/lester/57010547/. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:GM_Place_2005.jpg#mediaviewer/File:GM_Place_2005.jpg

GM Place by Mr. Leung / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

Vancouver’s Canucks may always seem to come up short when it comes to the hunt for the Stanley Cup, but when it comes to immigration, Vancouver’s one of the most vastly underrated cities in the whole of North America.

When you think of Asian immigration into the Pacific Northwest, chances are you think of Seattle and San Francisco—and with good reason.  However, Vancouver also has one of the highest populations of Asian immigrants in the region, and has a booming economy, as does most of the region.

If you’re looking to immigrate to Canada from Asia, or want to travel from Asia to study or visit the Great White North, Vancouver’s (finally) #1.

Read about British Columbia's Provincial Nominee Program

 

Winnipeg

"Winnipeg Jets first home victory celebration" by Krazytea - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Winnipeg_Jets_first_home_victory_celebration.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Winnipeg_Jets_first_home_victory_celebration.jpg

MTS Centre by Krazytea / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Once upon a time the city of Winnipeg had a hockey team.  They were called the Winnipeg Jets, they were founded in the WHA in 1972, they joined the NHL with three other teams in 1979, and despite the best laid plans of mice, men, and Dale Hawerchuck, they could never quite break through to win Lord Stanley’s Cup, falling prey to teams such as the Oilers, Flames, and Vancouver’s own Canucks. (So congrats, British Colombia—you win that round.)

Then along came Gary Bettman, the lackluster Canadian economy of the 1990s, and the not-so-brilliant idea to take Winnipeg’s team and move it to Phoenix, Arizona, where they still haven’t won the Stanley Cup. But, in their defense, few in Phoenix care, and no one else does, either.  Thankfully, Winnipeg regained its Jets in 2011, becoming a poster child for the resurgence of the Canadian economy and suddenly putting itself back on the sports tourist’s map.

So why visit Winnipeg?  Besides the MTS Center, the home of the Jets and one of the cozier arenas in the league, Winnipeg has a variety of fantastic restaurants, the Winnipeg Folk Festival, the Jazz Winnipeg Festival, and a diverse population. Roughly 15% of the inhabitants of Winnipeg are Ukrainian or of Ukrainian descent…

Which, given the events occurring in Eastern Ukraine in 2014, might just be important, and might just mean that Winnipeg’s worth jetting over to see, especially if you’re of Ukrainian descent.

Read about the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program

 

Montreal and Quebec City

"Bellcenterscreen" by Original uploader was Alexcaban at en.wikipedia - Originally from en.wikipedia; description page is/was here.. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bellcenterscreen.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Bellcenterscreen.jpg

Bell Centre by Alexcaban at English Wikipedia / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

If you’re not a hockey fan, suffice it to say the Montreal Canadiens are the New York Yankees of the NHL.

If you are a hockey fan, you already know that, and already love or hate the Habs for that.

As for Quebec City…

Call this one an homage to the past and sign of optimism for the city’s future.  Due to open in 2015, the new Quebecor Arena is the likely potential home of an NHL franchise someday, as after huge success story of the return of Winnipeg’s Jets we await the hopeful return of Quebec’s Nordiques.

As for the city itself, if you’re an American and are fortunate enough to actually remember some of that high school French you were made to learn, or if you just have a thing for francophone culture but don’t wish to or else can’t afford to fly all the way to France, Quebec City is a fantastic multicultural city for would-be tourists.  As with Winnipeg, Quebec’s economy has rebounded since the bleaker economic days of the 1990s, making the city both ripe for a return to the NHL as well as a fantastic vacation destination. 

If you’re an American or European francophone, treat yourself to a vacation in Montreal and Quebec City while enjoying everything from some of the finest fine arts displays in Canada to one of the oldest North American settlements.

Both Montreal and Quebec City are bastions of culture.

Both have a long history of American tourism.

Both are a great place to visit, especially if you’re interested in francophone culture or the arts.

And both are probably annoyed they’ve been lumped together like this.  Just pray that, when the Nordiques do return, Quebecois and Les Habitants de Montreal don’t reenact this.


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