Disclosure: Enterprise Rent-A-Car and the NHL provided me with a gift package to host my watch party as a thank you for writing this post. However, the views and opinions expressed here are purely my own.
Playoffs! We're talking about playoffs all week - and hopefully all month - here on St. Louis Game Time. Some people like to wait until their team makes the Stanley Cup finals to celebrate and invite people over, but why? Considering the fact that the Blues were hovering around ninth place at the start of the month, the fact that they're in the playoffs with home ice advantage is more than a cause for a shindig.
The weather's warm, the hockey's right - it's time to get some cold beers together and a few friends and watch the Blues. "But Hildy!" you might say. "I've never thrown a playoff party! How do I go about doing so?"
It's easy. I'll walk you through it, and Game Time and Enterprise Rent-A-Car will give a lucky reader the goods.
1) Get the food.
If you're having a large group over, it might be easiest to say that you'll take care of the main dish, and everyone needs sides. Sometimes this goes well. Other times people try to use your entire party as unwilling subjects for culinary experiments. I personally suggest using a website like SignUp Genius to see a ) who's coming and b) what you have coming with them.
If you're having the main dish, chances are good it'll be MEAT. And if you're going in that direction, have a good mix of stuff. Hamburgers and hot dogs are fun, but bump it up a bit with some sausages. If you have a butcher shop or Whole Foods nearby, hit them up for stuff behind the glass that the butcher has to wrap. I also suggest that you get chicken or turkey sausages for healthy folks. There's always one, and honestly, some of the chicken sausages are shockingly really good.
Hamburgers and whatnot require a grill. We'll get to that momentarily.
2) Get beer.
Duh. Cold, cold beer is always acceptable. You can do BYOB for folks who you know like a certain kind, but it's not a bad idea to get a few 12 packs of a reasonably priced beer that people will actually drink. It's up to you, but if you don't have a base of beer in a cooler and require your guests to BYOB and BYOSide, people might think you're cheap. Which, if you are, ride that for all it's worth.
3) Make sure you have water, tea, and soda.
Not everyone drinks. I know, I know... this is weird. To each their own.
4) Have a good entertainment set-up.
HD, house shuddering audio - you probably need that. Don't have everyone gathered around a TV from 1992. People'll be standing around and probably talking through the game. First off, if that bothers you, don't host a party. Secondly, you'll need the audio to carry over the sound of the folks talking. Again, we'll get to the entertainment set-up.
5) Mention to people that they need to wear their Blues gear.
This should go without saying, but some people are dense. I would also suggest that they wear dark jerseys instead of whites. You cannot get a mustard stain out of a white jersey.
6) Decorate if you want.
If you don't, don't. More people'll be looking at the game than what you have up on the walls. I would mention that cleaning stuff up is a good idea first.
Game Time and Enterprise want you to throw a solid party. Why? Because if you throw a good party, we'd all like to be there. Enterprise shares in the excitement and passion of hockey fans everywhere, and wants to help you celebrate with a hockey prize pack, and Game Time is happy to oblige. What is this prize pack, you might ask? Well...
- Brookstone Prime Barbeque Kit
- Coleman 16 qt. Wheeled Cooler Blue
- The Grand Tin (Mixed nuts, cashews and pistachios)
- Coby Slim Wall Mountable Sound Bar with Bluetooth Technology
- Enterprise Hockey Puck Stress Reliever
- Enterprise Reusable Custom Stadium Cup (Pack of 25)
- Enterprise 24 oz. Dual Cap Water Bottle
- Kit charge
How do you get this swag? Easy! Participate in the Enterprise NHL Hat Trick Challenge. You do need an NHL username and password; if you don't, you can sign up for one there. Create an entry name, and search for Game Time's league. Log in with the password "letsgoblues" and you're all set. Win the league through predicting the results the most correctly, and the above prize pack is all yours. Check back on the Hat Trick Challenge site tonight after five to sign-up.
Don't worry, I won't win the league, so the prize pack won't be mine. Best of luck, Game Timers. Let's Go Blues!