“You will find me a little crunchy …”, says Martin Dalpé straight away, before specifying that in recent years, he has visited around twenty NFL stadiums. And yet, no, Martin Dalpé is no more “cracked” than many other football enthusiasts, for whom the kilometers do not count.
“This year, I will have attended seven football matches”, illustrates for his part Martin Lafleur, that the great love for the sport led to become a guide for a travel agency. Generally, someone who is also a musician adds “one new place a year” to his already extensive list.
“I’m lucky to earn a good living. I have been doing two or three such trips a year for a few years,” explains Mr. Dalpé.
When speaking to the Journal, the senior director of labor relations at Quebecor was preparing to leave for Detroit the same evening to see the Lions, but also the NCAA, between Michigan and Michigan State.
“This year, I went to Miami to watch a Dolphins game in September, then I left with my daughters. [Frédérique et Valérie] in New Orleans, for a meeting of the Saints. We always leave for four days and add a football match to our stay,” he adds.
Both men aren’t just big NFL fans. They each have several NHL arenas and MLB stadiums on their roadmap: T-Mobile, where the Las Vegas Golden Knights play, Bridgestone Arena, where the Nashville Predators play, Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs…
Mr. Lafleur estimates that he has entered about 15 amphitheaters and professional baseball stadiums to date.
Especially for the atmosphere
But football seems to have this special attraction for its fans, which urges them to visit the most distant American cities. What thrills Martin Dalpé is the atmosphere in the stadiums.
So much so that his least favorite destinations to date – SoFi Stadium, for part of the Los Angeles Chargers, and Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears – appealed to him less because of their more moribund.
Photo provided by Martin Dalpé
“It must be said that in Los Angeles, there are mostly Rams fans,” he explains. We were there for a Chargers game against the Minnesota Vikings. And we thought we were in Minnesota! »
But he will probably go back there all the same once he retires, because he has a very specific project in mind. [voir autre texte].
A passion born in Detroit
While Martin Dalpé’s passion for NFL travel stemmed from his love for the Indianapolis Colts — and their former quarterback, Peyton Manning — Martin Lafleur’s came more from a trip to Detroit to see… . hockey.
It was at the beginning of the last decade, when a possible return of the Nordiques to Quebec was still making a lot of ink flow.
With the famous “Nordiques Nation”, Mr. Lafleur had left in one of the buses that had taken the “Fleurdelysé” fanatics to a game between the Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks.
Detroit is certainly not the tourist destination par excellence, but alongside these enthusiasts, it is there that he got the bug of these sports trips.
A quickly filled “bucket list”
Martin Lafleur, a die-hard Nordiques fan, has never been to see the Avalanche in Colorado.
It was his passion for football and his attachment to quarterback Russell Wilson, who joined the Broncos this season, which led him to finally enter the Ball Arena, during a trip to Denver where he would also attend a NFL game.
He will then wear “something that identifies him with the Nordiques”, as he does at each of his appearances at a sporting event, whether it is a sweater, a cap… Enough to initiate the conversion with any other amateur in the stadium.
If he wants to go to Colorado even if his Nordiques settled there 27 years ago, it is because like Martin Dalpé, Mr. Lafleur has a very specific objective on his bucket list: to see the 30 stadiums of the NFL.
And at the rate they are going, they may have realized their dream sooner rather than later.
“Seven or eight years ago, I was away for 12 weekends out of the 16 in the season,” says Martin Lafleur.
“At the frequency I travel, I will have time to do all the stages twice! adds Martin Dalpé.