Sunday, October 16, 2011

My First Hockey Game

My boss retires at the end of the month. He's not quite got the tally down to hours and minutes, but he certainly has it down to days. We wanted to do something as an office but we were way too busy during the summer to consider a baseball game. So, Mike suggested we go to opening night of the minor league hockey team, Chicago Wolves. "I know you don't like hockey, Deb." I'm 'meh' on it. The company was picking up the bill so I've got nothing to lose.

Iowa was playing Northwestern in the evening and, of course, it was on TV. At the restaurant, people joked that I could stay at the restaurant and they'd come get me after the hockey game. In actuality, the two ran about the same amount of time with the football game starting before and ending after the hockey game. I gave the pseudo offer a thought but decided no. I won't pay my own money to see a hockey game so this was my chance.

The Wolves play their games at the Allstate Arena, what some of us used to know as the Rosemont Horizon Center. The game was at 7. We got there at 6:45. At 7, they hauled out these pieces and put them on the ice. You can't see real well. It was hard to take good clear photos because flash didn't work real well and although there's decent lighting, it's not the brightest. These are 2 "paws" and a "mouth". The team skates through this onto the ice. The opponent, the Milwaukee Admirals, skated around this after the Wolves were introduced.

It seems, nowadays, that there is a certain amount of flash and boom that is needed in introducing a professional sports team. The Wolves, while being minor league, have adopted the desire for explosions and loud noises. Hence, the need for the scoreboard to explode.

And the paws to emit jets of flame.

We could feel the heat from where we sat. We also noticed the underside of the arena roof is wood. Is that such a good thing to have columns of fire shooting up toward a wooden roof?

In between periods, the zamboni came out; they have 2 actually; and they flew this blimp over the audience. It dropped coupons for a free bag of cookies at the concession stands. They threw t-shirts and numbered balls from the Illinois lottery into the stands. Little kids from a Barrington, Illinois youth hockey club played each other between periods and fans cheered each goal. The kids had trouble standing upright in their ice skates so any goal had to feel really special.

I enjoyed myself. It was kind of quiet, for a sporting event. I expected more noise. Mike said an NHL game is really loud, that you should bring earplugs for one of those. It wasn't a complete sell-out. We noticed a number of seats, some pretty good ones, too, were empty.

This is early in the game and you can still see the haze left over from the fireworks and flames.

We got to see a lot of hockey. The game was tied, 2-2, at the end of regulation. There were only 2 fights,  for those who follow hockey and ask about those things. There was a "sudden death" overtime where no one scored, followed by a shoot-out, one player versus the goalie. Milwaukee won that 3-1.

It was a fun time. My knees weren't too bad during the game. There was plenty of room to sit and be comfortable.  Mike was gracious to, occasionally, check the Iowa score on his iPhone. I thought, for sure, they'd post scores of other sporting events but perhaps there are far too many to put up on the scoreboard. Although the Wolves lost, Iowa won.

Do I know more about hockey now than I did before? Kind of. I still wouldn't spend my money on tickets but if someone gave me tickets, I'd go. I did enter the drawing to win suite box seats. That would be cool to win and everyone go again.

Beverage:  English Breakfast tea


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