Los Angeles Kings forward Kevin Fiala writes a blog for NHL.com during the 2023 NHL Global Series in Melbourne, Australia. The Kings will play two exhibition games against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday and Sunday at Rod Laver Arena.
In this entry today, the striker writes about his first experiences at Rod Laver Arena, a visit to an animal sanctuary and a meeting with Australian rules football players.
MELBOURNE, Australia – We saw some cool animals when we visited an animal sanctuary after training on Wednesday. Zebras. Giraffes. hippos. antelopes. The rhinos were right there as our bus passed.
Of course we also saw Australian animals, such as kangaroos and koalas. I had already seen kangaroos. But koalas? Never before.
The team had the day off on Thursday, so we played golf on one of the most beautiful courses in Australia. I didn’t play well, but it was fantastic. We had a group scramble and I played with Mikey Anderson and Viktor Arvidsson. A great competition. We had a good time.
After practicing at O’Brien Icehouse earlier in the week, we had an open practice at Rod Laver Arena on Friday. You see so many tennis matches on TV here and you really feel like the arena was built for tennis. The fans are very close.
I’m from Switzerland and Roger Federer won the Australian Open here six times. It’s cool to skate in the same building.
Then I swapped jerseys with Trent Cotchin, a recently retired player from the Richmond Tigers of the Australian Football League. He was a three-time Premier League captain. I asked him a lot of questions about the rules of football in Australia as we will be watching the AFL preliminary final between the Collingwood Magpies and the Greater Western Sydney Giants at the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground tonight. This is the semi-finals in this league.
I’ve never seen this sport before, so it will be very special and very exciting to see something like this. The 100,000 fans here are very passionate and it’s a good game too, so I’m excited.
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