A friend calls you two hours before the puck is supposed to drop for tonight's Canucks game. He says he has tickets, that his girlfriend isn't feeling well and she would rather spend the evening watching the game from the comfort of her bed. He says he's boiling her some water for a pot of green tea, and then he's going to leave for the game without her. If you want it, he says, the extra ticket is yours. You accept.
When you arrive at Rogers Arena, the air carries a chill you cannot place. As you enter the building, you notice a number of pallid faces. Your ears won't stop detecting the muffled sound of sick people coughing into sleeves. It overpowers even the general mill of a game day crowd. As you search for the gate that corresponds to your ticket, a 50/50 vendor collapses near the Triple O's. The crowd forms an immediate semicircle around her. You want to help, but you're completely boxed out. Trusting that someone nearby will attend to her properly, you keep moving.
You're mildly disappointed that your friend's tickets put you in the nosebleeds, right up against the back wall, but you remind yourself that it's still better than nothing. That's why you brought the binoculars. You fetch them from the bowels of your backpack, all the while envying the people in the lower bowl. The crowd down there seem sparser than usual.
Even at the first intermission, you can't believe the rows of the prime seats down low that aren't filled. You're conspiring a self-promotion when the man next to you collapses. Before you can help him, you're pushed aside by another man who claims to know First Aid. Then security rushes in. Soon, the entire section is crowded with onlookers. Again you find yourself boxed out.
You and your friend decide to grab a beer while you wait for the scene to clear up. As you walk the concourse, you begin to notice that the staff population, like the audience in the lower sections, is thin. Your friend suggests you try to get into one of the lower seats. Considering the commotion at your own seats and recalling your earlier plans, it seems like a good idea. When the puck drops for the second period, you and your friend find yourselves right near the tunnel, four rows from the front. You can't believe the gate was unattended. Everything is so vivid down low. You could swear Alex Burrows looked right at you on a line change.
Then, suddenly, there is a blood-curdling scream from your section. Even amidst the action on the ice and the remarkable distance between where you are and where you were, you can hear it. You look to the nosebleeds. The man that collapsed has sunk his teeth deep into the shoulder of the EMT. The blood--vivid, spurting--is visible from the other side of the arena. The gruesome picture briefly flashes on the Jumbotron before wisely cutting away. Somebody's getting fired for that. Ironically, the Kiss Cam comes up next. Then the Jumbotron shuts off entirely.
Suddenly, there is a second scream from a gate on the other side of the ice. There is a man standing in the aisle, holding a severed head.
The audience erupts with terror. People are tripping over one another to escape. You hear deep, guttural moans droning throughout the arena. Dave Tomlinson falls from the Jim Robson broadcast gondola. Some scatter to avoid him; others shuffle in his direction.
In an instant, it's pandemonium. In a heartbeat, the aisles are full of desperate people trampling one another to get to the exits. It's no use. The zombies have hemmed them inside. You turn to your friend. He's gone. You survey the scene. Everywhere you look, there are puddles of gore. People are eating one another. The dead are returning to their feet.
Suddenly, the lights go out, and instantly, the eerie glow of iPods and cell phones fills the arena. People are spilling out onto the ice surface. The fire alarm goes off.
You can see both teams making haste down the tunnel. A swarm of people comes your way, trying to follow them. You can't hardly tell the living from the undead. Most spill out onto the ice. Some are trampled in the aisles. Their momentum throws you into the tunnel. There's no time to check yourself for injuries from the fall. You make a run for it. The Canucks training staff tries to deter you, but the swarm is coming their way. Everybody retreats.
Goaltending coach Rollie Melanson is ushering everybody into the Canucks' dressing room. He stops you, but at the urging of the rest of the training staff, now held up behind you, he lets you in. You stumble, and fall forward, spilling right onto the Canucks' logo that spans the floor of the team dressing room. When you look up, you're met with the familiar faces that make up the roster of the Vancouver Canucks as they desperately try to exchange their skates for the appropriate footwear to survive the zombie apocalypse.
Uh, yeah. Wow. Okay, this became fan fiction incredibly quickly. It's also going to take more time than I thought to get to the point where we can answer Dan Donkers' initial question. So, you know, to be continued.