**Big thanks to NFL Canada for the incredible trip to Green Bay as well as to Bill Stefaniuk and Red Batty for the amazing behind-the-scenes experiences.
In November, my Dad and I went on a trip of a lifetime together. We travelled to Green Bay to see the Packers take on the Carolina Panthers at Lambeau Field.
It was such an incredible and special trip to be able to share with my Dad. In fact, it’s the first one we’ve ever taken just the two of us.
It was also amazing to experience all the hype that goes on around game day in Green Bay. Last year, I went to a Packers vs. Vikings game in Minneapolis but nothing beats the thrill of being on home turf!
Here are my top 5 favourite moments from the trip.
1. Getting a Private Tour of the Packers Locker Room
You can’t beat a Saskatchewan connection – even in Green Bay! Dad and I met up with Packers Equipment Manager Red Batty thanks to a Saskatoon connection with Bill Stefaniuk (who also happens to be a Packers, Riders and Rush fan). Bill and Red have been friends for decades. When Bill heard I was heading to a game, he made sure to connect us.
As a Canadian-turned-American, Red gave my Dad and I and a few other Saskatchewan-Packer’s fans the royal treatment at Lambeau.
On our first day, we had a private tour of the Packers dressing room with Red as well as a tour of the facilities where the Packers hang out, work out, practice, and prepare for every game.
2. Getting Field Passes from NFL Canada
NFL Canada hooked my Dad and I up with field passes that gave us the opportunity to get down on the field before the game.
We were allowed on the sidelines to watch the players warm-up and interact with their fans.
3. Experiencing the “Snow Globe”
Lambeau Field is an open stadium and the weather in Green Bay can get pretty cold during a late-in-the-season game. Like good Canadians, Dad and I came geared up and ready for cold weather (ski pants, mitts, toques and all). But what we didn’t expect was the complete experience of Lambeau Field turning into the most perfect snow globe.
It was calling for rain at night but the temperature dropped enough for it to turn to snow. At half time, it really started coming down. By the end of the game, everything was dusted in a layer of fluffy snow. It couldn’t have been more magical!
4. Dining at The Union Hotel and Restaurant
Post-locker-room-tour, we met with Red and the same people from our private tour at The Union Hotel and Restaurant. The restaurant has been around since the late 1800s and their dinner guests have included every Green Bay Packers head coach dating back to Curly Lambeau.
But best of all, Red regaled us with a few behind-the-scenes stories – everything from sharing Canadian chocolates with Brett Favre mid-game to creatively solving a cold-weather issue by putting staples in the bottom of the player’s shoes during a game in the late 1970s (we laughed about how that wouldn’t fly today).
Red also told us how important footballs are in a game. The Packers go through 800 footballs a year. Aaron Rodgers takes 60 footballs and picks 24 top footballs. Then he narrows it down to the final 12 based on the texture and feel of the oils on the leather.
During a game, there are six balls that can be in play. But usually, only the first three footballs ever get used.
5. Post-Game Cheese Curds for the Win!
After the Packers finished crushing the Panthers, Dad and I walked across the stadium parking lot to celebrate with some hearty Wisconsonian cheese curds at Kroll’s.
The line was nearly out the door when we got there but the wait wasn’t too long before we were diving into the greasy goodness of pub-style food. It was the perfect way to cheers to such an incredible weekend.