Hockey Weekend Across America Recap

3 02 2010

As mentioned previously, I observed Hockey Weekend Across America in my own way, which meant taking in as many hockey games in 72 hours as possible.

Here’s what happened:

Friday January 29: CHL Allen Americans vs Corpus Christi Ice Rays (Allen TX)

Naturally, after I made a big fuss about it, the drum and drummer didn’t show up that night. Which actually underscored how important it was for the overall atmosphere. The PA alone can’t do all the work – well, it could, but it gets boring if that’s the only “atmosphere generator” in the building – and it’s not very fun to merely clap out whatever is being chanted. You need the boom that only the drum can provide. Where is Har-lan? (Clap clap clapclapclap) See?

To their credit, by the way, the Allen Americans have not (yet) resorted to the hated “ev’ry-body clap your hands” canned clip. Please, please let’s not let it come to that. Back-up drum-mer! (BOOM BOOM BOOM)

As for the game itself: Good play from Allen with high energy including a goal from Jordie Benn. This is an important tidbit for later.

I get the feeling that Allen Americans “fever” might be a bit too strong of a word right now, but word is getting out and I’m pleased to see the organization doing their best to build and sustain that momentum. I sprang for a 5-game mini plan and got absolutely swined. This, in my uncle’s parlance, is a good thing. I’ve already been on the soapbox about the excellent value that Allen Americans hockey represents and getting way more than I expected with the 5-game plan really underscores that fact. I’m so enjoying this inaugural season that I’m having my birthday party there next month. (Grin)

NHL: Dallas Stars vs Colorado Avalanche (Recorded and watched the same night)

I don’t remember much about the game except I think Dallas won. Yes? Seems to me? I’ll say yes and move on.

Saturday January 30: NCAAM Michigan State vs Michigan (East Lansing – recorded on 1/29 and watched the next day)

Good game, but geez is the Munn Arena strangely laid out. Rather than having the benches on one side and the penalty boxes on the other, the MSU bench AND the penalty box (singular) is on one side and the visitor’s bench on the other. This made it difficult to know who was in the box when, and apparently it led to old-school instigations having rival players in one box. MSU beat U of M (yay) but got shellacked in Detroit the following night (not televised locally hence the date cheat). NHL tie-in: Chris Chelios’s son plays for MSU. Gawd I feel old typing that.

Sunday January 31: RWHL Thunder vs Peppers (Richardson TX)

Never mind the testosterone, now the real hockey action can begin! Since I work Sundays, and the RWHL can’t or won’t play on any other day of the week, I moved my schedule around to make the RWHL the capper for the weekend. I even bought a RWHL shirt online that arrived just in time for the game. I thought it might be an icebreaker (ar ar) but yeah, it so wasn’t, but big deal because it’s not about me. I did expect to be the lone “fan” there as everyone else seems to be a HAB (husbands and boyfriends) or someone’s kid. Nope, the RWHL is on the move, as there were three! Three fans at the game! Ah ah ah! (Thunder SFX)

RWHL fans

Not sure that light grey on white was the best plan, but thanks for coming out!

I considered trying to get a 3-person chant of “na na na naaaaa na na THUN-DER!” going, but no. Plus I’m sorta pulling for the Peppers.

Speaking of the Peppers, and bringing the thunder, apparently their mad skillz have improved to the point of actually logging penalty minutes. The ref had a strange half-hearted method for doing the hand signals for what the penalty was for, which became the icebreaker to parley back and forth with the RWHL clipboard-toters about why a penalty was called in the “just beginners” league. I really thought the only penalties they called (that don’t actually net any penalty minutes) were offside and icing. Nope, we had at least three tripping calls, starting with my favorite player.

RWHL penalty box

Penalty? Really?

I didn’t see the foul deed as it happened, so the penalty could have been a result of overzealous officiating, enough that one of the more seasoned players loudly scolded the ref for calling a penalty in a d-league. As fate would have it…

RWHL tripping

ZOMG tripping...!

…she got blatantly tripped. The ref did call the penalty so at least consistency was involved.

Despite d-league play being completely at the far end of the spectrum from the NHL, CHL, or even NCAA, I like leagues like the RWHL because they help the budding hockey enthusiast really get down to the roots of the game and appreciate the effort that goes in to mastering the sport. I’ve seen a whole two nights worth of RWHL games, but as they were spaced about a month apart I could see the improvement right away. I’d like to know more about what the individual players do to train and practice between Sunday games, but overall it is interesting and free and for me a good way to foster a stronger relationship with women’s athetics in all its forms.

RWHL puck battle

Mart...ina Tur-co! (BOOM BOOM BOOM)

Peppers 2-0 over the Thunder in regulation! Like I said, noticeable improvement.

I enjoyed Hockey Weekend Across America and am really getting into the sport. I rode that enthusiasm and decided Hockey Weekend ends when I say it does, and stretched it out one more day: Tuesday February 2.

AA Center

Mecca at Night (Fine, the AAC, same thing.)

Oh, that happened. Details soon.

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