Our Experience at Rogers Arena

The second Canadian NHL arena (and third NHL arena) we checked off our bucket list…

October 25th, 2015

We hopped on a flight from Calgary to Vancouver, Canada.

I have this…tradition shall I say, to email each NHL Arenas Season Ticket Holder staff before we make our journey to their arena.


We had really hit it out of the park with Calgary the previous 2 days so I didn’t want to be greedy but I really thought we’d get a response from them since it worked so well with the Flames.

But I was SUPER excited for Vancouver for a few reasons:

  1. I love their accents
  2. I love the Canucks (ehm…the Sedin Brothers)
  3. Vancouver is B E A U T I F U L
Picture taken on the False Creek Seawall

We got on an early flight so we could buzz around Vancouver before the game that night.

We started off eating, because that’s the most important thing to do when you’re on a trip – we had delicious seafood that quite literally could’ve just came out of the water and we headed to the False Creek Seawall.

A 9.4 mile paved bike path that begins at English Bay and continues around False Creek to Kitsilano Beach.

I’d be lying if I said we made it all 9.4 miles….

But we ( I ) did my best…dad could’ve easily made it those 9.4 miles but this girl right here is a lazy girl and I could not do such physical activity.

After the bike ride, we naturally went SHOPPING!!

We went to Roots which had a totally cozy Vancouver matching set that I had to get.

Photo by: Jo Cook of Sun and Soil Designs

Dad contemplated getting a Christmas themed onsie…
I wish I could find that photo because it was HILARIOUS.

Then, before we knew it, it was time to head to the game!

I was geeked because I was going to see THE Sedin Brothers IN REAL LIFE!!!

These two guys are just M A G I C on that ice together. So imagine my sadness when Henrik gets hurt and has to leave the game early.

Thanks a lot, Henrik.

All kidding aside, just being able to see both of them on the ice at the same time was some kind of amazing. These two players just anticipate each others moves….twin telepathy is a THING people. (Did I mention they were twins?!?)

There have been other twin players in the NHL but the Sedin Brothers are the ONLY ones to play for the same team for their entire career. (Let’s blame Wiki if this stat is wrong…I know, I know Wiki is the last place I should go for reputable information…but here we are!)

It’s outrageously cool and I just admire the crap out of them.

The Red Wings WIN to The Canucks by a 4-3 score in OT. (Thanks Nyquist for the Game Winner!)

Vancouver marked the 3rd NHL Arena (Calgary Flames being the second) on our bucket list of attending Red Wings games at different NHL Arenas. 

Next stop? Boston!

Our Experience at Scotiabank Saddledome

The first Canadian NHL arena (and second NHL arena) we checked off our bucket list…

October 23rd, 2015

We hopped on a flight to Calgary, Canada.

We got on a flight a day earlier than we planned…

I have this…tradition shall I say, to email each NHL Arenas Season Ticket Holder staff before we make our journey to their arena.


& let me tell you…their hospitality was out of this world.

We got an email about a month before our trip and they asked when we were flying in. Reason being?

They wanted to invite us into the Scotiabank Saddledome and take us on a tour.
Allow us to watch The Calgary Flames & The Detroit Red Wings practice skate.

Our flight was actually for the day of the game, October 24th, 2015. But, we bit the bullet and paid the ransom for this


Manager, Customer Service and Retention, Matt Kane brought us into the arena, gave us a tour of the ENTIRE Saddledome and I even got to see MIKE GREEN doing some stretches by the locker rooms.


We were treated so well by the Flames organization and it’s a memory that my dad and I will NEVER forget.

That’s the magical thing about hockey, and one of the many reasons I love it – togetherness.

Matt didn’t care that we had our Red Wings gear on or that we were from Detroit.

He saw 2 fans of the game and gave them an

experience that they will remember forever.

Flash forward a few hours and we were buzzing around Calgary!

Our first stop was the Calgary Tower; a 626 foot, free-standing observation tower in downtown Calgary with a restaurant at the top.

Dad and I got a little dizzy (because the restaurant moved in a circle…or maybe it was the cider LOL) but we got to see spectacular views of Calgary 600+ feet high.

G A M E D A Y!
October 24th, 2015

Dad and I had a BLAST.

Matt joined us during one of the period breaks and introduced us to the

Caesar Cocktail

Which is just a fancy version of a Bloody Mary…and 100X more delicious…

The Red Wings lose to Calgary by a 2-3 score.

Calgary marked the 2nd NHL Arena (Tampa Bay Lightening being the first) on our bucket list of attending Red Wings games at different NHL Arenas.

Next stop? Vancouver!

Our Experience at Amalie Arena

The first NHL arena we checked off our bucket list…

February 8th, 2014

Our first arena to check off on our bucket list!

I have this…tradition shall I say, to email each NHL Arenas Season Ticket Holder staff before we make our journey to their arena.


But that’s okay. At the time, I was upset because I thought:

“How cool are me and my dad????? Flying all the way from Detroit to watch a game?!?! We are going to be like…the only Red Wings fans there!”

Spoiler Alert: We definitely were not.

In fact, there were MORE Red Wings fans there than Lightening fans!

Which honestly, was pretty cool. I was not expecting it, even after dad told me a million times that the Red Wings travel well.

I think it was in that moment, that my ego was deflated a little bit because I felt REALLY COOL thinking that someone from the team was going to spot me because I’d be one of the few people in red. I would’ve had a better chance standing out if I wore BLUE!

But dad and I had an awesome time. His good friends, the Hirsh’s, took us out to dinner by the arena and joined us at the game.

The Amalie Arena was unlike anything I had experienced. Being in Florida, they can really utilize the outdoors and boy did they!

Outside bars, music, games, etc.

It was definitely something that we’d maybe only get to do for two months in Detroit during hockey season.

The Red Wings lose to The Lightening by a 2-4 score

The Tampa Bay Lightening marked the 1st NHL Arena on our bucket list of attending Red Wings games at different NHL Arenas. 

Next stop? Calgary!

My Experience With Sun and Soil Design

I think you can tell from my face that it was FAN-TAS-TIC.

Jo Cook is a gem.

Funny story: We met at a ballet class in college.

For me, it was a last minute (senior year) ditch effort to fulfill that gym credit. (Spoiler Alert: It Worked)

I’ll have to ask Jo Cook why she took the class.

I distinctly remember the first day of class and meeting her. Her hair caught my attention: “I wish I could pull off her hair” It was short, blonde, and flirty.

Flash forward and I link up with her on Facebook and I am drawn to her site. It’s light, airy, and fresh.

I had gone back and forth with creating a consistent Instagram page:


I reached out and she was completely engaged. She knew my vision and how to make it come to life.

I went to her home studio (wish the chickens where there when I was!) and we got to shooting.

It was the best 2 hours I could have asked for. She was open to my ideas and made me feel comfortable and confident.

There are not enough positive words in the English vocabulary to express my experience with Jo Cook and my graditude towards her.

My Instagram page is totally fresh, cool, and stylish.

Thank you, Jo Cook!

Check out Jo Cook’s pages here:




And a few of the images below:

My Editor Went Missing…

I remember the day I googled “TK City Name*” and an article of a missing person, my editor, was the first hit.

But let me start from the beginning…

I was at Camp Winshape with my best friend, Mikayla Farr. It was a summer camp in Georgia for 2-weeks. I’m from Michigan so packing had to be strategic. I packed 2 books that I thought would keep me occupied during our ‘quiet time’ after lunch each day. Well, I finished both books in about 4 days. Wanting to do something other than take a nap, I decided to buy a notebook and pen and write.

I filled the entire notebook by the end of camp.

It was a concoction of mini stories, character names, and conversations.

When I got home from camp, I was determined to re-write it all on my computer. But, high school started and priorities changed and the notebook fell off my radar.

Flash forward 4 years

and I found the notebook spring cleaning my room.

Smiling I flipped through some of the pages trying to recall 14 year old Samantha and where she was mentally and physically when writing on the pages. At this point in time, I was graduating High School about to start my College journey. I tucked the notebook away for safekeeping and thought about what it would be like to make something of it.

But alas,

History repeated itself and it stayed tucked away for a few more years…

I think subconsciously, I wasn’t ready yet. I wasn’t ready to transfer the pages of my purple notebook onto my laptop.

The idea terrified me.

It was one thing to have my chicken scratch in a purple notebook tucked away in my closet, but another thing to have it written in black and white on my laptop monitor. It made my writing feel more…


April 26th, 2016

The day that marks when I took a leap and reached out to editors to go down the path of publishing my first novel.

Recalling this, I remember my very close friend Julie encouraging me to do research and find editors. I told her I’d look for someone when I’m 30 and she questioned why I’d wait so long for something I wanted right now.

So, I found 5 editors and sent a lengthy email about how I am a first time writer, I was trying to get more information, and I was just doing this for fun not as a career.

3 of the 5 responsed.

1 of them was an automated email that they were not taking new clients…next.

The other 2 wrote back that they were open to seeing my piece and told me a little about themselves. The way TK wrote, I could just feel their energy.

I knew I had to choose TK as my editor.

August 7th, 2017

was the last email I got from TK.

Hi Samantha,

I forgot to say now is the time for you to put front matter into the book. Please insert the title page, etc. before you send it back. Then poof! Just like that, it’ll be ready to publish.


Happy Monday!


You would not believe how fast I got that finished. I expected a reply within seconds. But, I never got one.

I gave TK the benefit of the doubt. It was summer TK likely had activities, end of the year parties, etc. etc.

I was going into my last year of college, so I had other thoughts in the forefront of my mind.

A week went by, I sent a follow up email — technology is wonky sometimes, maybe you didn’t get this email but…

A month went by, at this point I was beside myself.

Did I really just get played?

This person really played the long game if that was the case.

In all honesty, it wasn’t about the money.

Sure, I calculated how many hours I’d have to work to make up the money I spent on this endeavor. (Spoiler AlertOvertime is nice)

But, the only thing I could think of was how embarrassed I was that I was so close to something that I had invested my whole heart into and it all fell apart.

Hockey season started and I was really fired up. (GO WINGS!)

In the back of my head, I only thought about my book sitting in our seats.

Every goal, every power play, every fight reminded me of my book and how I desperately wanted to gain back the courage to try it again.

Third time is a charm, right?

I tried TK one last time. Email/Phone Call/Text Message.

Then, I decided to do what any millennial person would do: Google.

I knew very little about TK. Only their name and the city they resided.

And there it was, in black and white:

Person Missing from * since August.

I was sitting in my dad’s office, stunned. I couldn’t breathe, and I uncontrollably started bawling my eyes out. My person. The one who I shared my most personal creative thoughts with was gone.

Then poof! Just like that….

This moment changed everything for me.

I had already decided prior to finding out about TK that I was going to find a way to publish my book. But now, I had even more of a reason to go forward full speed ahead with publishing Behind The Net. Because now I had two people to do it for: myself and TK.

January 1, 2019

I published my book.

Meet Samantha Belanger

Samantha Belanger is a 25 year old published author of Behind The Net and a full time Talent Acquisition Coordinator at one of the biggest healthcare organizations in the USA.

Why are you here?

Perhaps you saw my book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Or maybe, you found me on Instagram.

Either way(s), I’m glad you’re here!

Why am I here?

I realized that I need to have a social footprint to put my name out there in black and white other than where I published my book and because I love to write.

Writing is therapeutic

The Hockey Mom Fit Life

Adventures in motherhood, fitness, youth hockey & corporate America

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