Andrew and Kaylin Gladd figured that by the end of their Canadian road trip following their beloved Anaheim Ducks the pucks they collected before each game would end up being the highlight of their travels.
The California natives were married on New Year’s Eve and decided to spend their honeymoon traveling across Canada as the Ducks played the Winnipeg Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, and Ottawa Senators. It was a plan hatched over the summer after the NHL released its 2018-19 schedule.
Being true Californians, of course, meant that aside from booking hotels, buying game tickets and planning how they would get to each city, they would need to make some additions to their wardrobes considering the time of year they would be honeymooning.
“We started buying actual winter boots because we didn’t have anything clothes-wise,” Andrew told Pro Hockey Talk on Friday from the couple’s Ottawa hotel room.
“It’s cold up here,” added Kaylin.
When the Gladds, who have had Ducks season tickets together for the last three years, began planning, there probably wasn’t a thought that the Ducks would be as bad as they are right now. They’re eight points out of a wild card spot in the Western Conference, but it feels like a thousand. Anaheim has won only twice in their last 21 games and John Gibson’s Vezina Trophy hopes have taken a major hit with the lack of support in front of him.
Andrew and Kaylin got to witness the red lights in four different rinks light up with regularity in the past week, with the Ducks getting outscored 23-5 during the Gladds four-game trip. Fortunately for them they headed to Washington D.C. to finish out their honeymoon and missed out on the 6-2 loss in Philadelphia, which turned out to be Randy Carlyle’s final game behind the bench.
“I did think Ottawa was our best chance,” said Andrew. “Ottawa came off playing in Toronto, came back home and took care of a team that didn’t play the night before.”
The hockey was enjoyable, and while the results weren’t there for the Ducks something unexpected happened on the trip that really changed their final outlook on things.
On Thursday morning, TSN host James Duthie came across a photo on Twitter of the couple with their checklist sign before the Maple Leafs game. He responded with, “Ouch. Feel like we should all chip in and send them to a resort. Or therapy.”
Three hours later Duthie Tweeted again, writing that through connections he has at the Wymara Resort in Turks and Caicos, the Gladds would be getting a free four-night stay. “[O]ne of our owners is a Senators fan so it’s the least we can do,” the resort revealed.
The Wymara Resort gave Pro Hockey Talk the full details of what the Gladds trip will consist of:
• Four night-stay at the resort
• A three-course dinner at the restaurant Stelle, which will also include a bottle of wine
• Sunset cocktails at champagne bar Pink Bar and a beach bed
“We had kind of been talking about doing a trip like that this year, maybe down to Cabo [San Lucas] for my birthday,” said Kaylin. “I mean, Turks and Caicos, we’ll take that, too.”
Despite the poor results on the ice, what the Gladds were able to do away from the rink only enhanced their Canadian experience. There were Beavertails enjoyed in Ottawa, poutine sampled in every city, a trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame to see the plaques of Ducks legends Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne, and some outdoor hockey played on a river in Winnipeg.
The response from opposing fans in each city was one of respect. “It was always shock just thinking that we would come from Southern California to somewhere so cold for our honeymoon,” explained Kaylin.
But despite some good-natured ribbing, there were bonds formed with fans from the opposing teams and even some Ducks fans they discovered who were living in each of the cities.
“Definitely the Canadian nice thing was there. Everyone was nice,” said Andrew. “The hockey aspect you can bond on. Even the person in customs, they ask you quite a few questions, and he’s like ‘Really? You guys came here for your honeymoon?’ And that was the reoccurring theme.
“After that you end up talking to people, connecting to people and sharing the love for the game.”