People don’t usually care too much about hockey game after they happen, unless they are epic battles, classic wins, or moments of greatness for ones own team. Even less so for a preseason game with “no consequences.” But the Frozen Fury, held every year at the MGM Grand, is one of those hockey games that is more than just players on ice, it’s an experience for the fans that doesn’t really compare to the rest of the NHL world. Frozen Fury isn’t just a game, it’s an event. There aren’t many any venues in the NHL where you can step out of the game and start gambling. The Frozen Fury is a good litmus test for the NHL moving to Las Vegas, for many a forgone conclusion. While the league looks at Kansas City with scrutiny, Vegas looks like a lock.
It’s well past time I put up my photos and talked about my first time at Frozen Fury. It was my intention to post this right away, but Las Vegas hotels would rather that you were on the casino floor, instead of the internet.
There are going to be a lot of photos, and many of them are not going to be hockey related at first. But stay with me, there are some gems.
There are many types of travelers in the world, and all of them react differently to the various difficulties inherent to the industry. For instance, computer failures. Your boarding pass doesn’t get printed right away, but a bunch of people after you get theirs in a timely fashion. My own sense of traveler zen depends on the amount of time I have arrived at the airport before my flight, and the amount of distraction I have at hand. This was a good day for me.
Compare that to Denver International Airport, with good food, lots of space, and moving walkways from here to eternity.
To see the rest of this, click the link below. I promise there will be hockey photos, and talk about the game. Really.
Denver International Airport is like a second home to me. I fly through there nearly as much as I fly through Atlanta. Often this is as close as I get to home.
I won’t lie to you. I am not a fan of Las Vegas. I don’t gamble, I don’t spend time at the casinos, and I don’t care for all the cigarette smoke. And for me, there is something wrong about having slot machines in the local 7-Eleven. I guess that’s just me.
Sorry, maybe that’s just me.
Welcome to my hotel. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t have to stay here again. The tower is impressive and all, but the room is just a room, and there wasn’t anything else impressive about the place. I chose it because it was cheaper than the properties up the strip, and I had a nice long walk up the strip to the game, but I would spend a few extra bucks next time and stay at the MGM, where the game was.
I wound up at the old strip, rebranded the Freemont Street Experience, that first night in Las Vegas. I’ll spare you the commentary, but you can click on the pictures if you want to see what was there. If you haven’t been there, the overhead light show is pretty cool. The whole place made me want to watch the original Ocean’s Eleven.
Finally it was game day, and I was in the mood for a walk. The day was hot, but I had to get some pavement under my feet. Vegas isn’t my kind of place, but it does fascinate me. From the people watching to the infrastructure the entire place is built on, I get the most entertainment well outside of the casinos.
Who says Las Vegas doesn’t care about sports?
What a town.
OK, I needed an iced coffee, and I just had to see. The sizes they served were small, medium, and DD. Seriously. But justice was served (cold? iced?), because the coffee wasn’t that good. Sorry to disappoint.
Part of the point of this is how strange a setting Las Vegas was for hockey. Walking around sweating my ass off in the Vegas heat didn’t feel like I was going to be sitting in front of a sheet of ice wearing a hockey jersey.
Kings fans outnumbered Avs fans at the game. I would walk past clusters of fans in black and purple jerseys and get booed. I would give it right back to them, asking them if the Kings brought a goalie, or even had one. I even got into a “fight” with this guy.
I don’t have any photographic evidence, which is too bad. I love my mascot fights.
You may note the lack of a jumbotron. They did their best:
I couldn’t get a good shot of the area with the media and management in the stands, but this was the best I got:
On to the game. Your starting lineup:
And more punches:
Hey look, more punches
My favorite part was that he walked past Avs fans, and even a few with Stastny jerseys, and no one recognized him. Well, except for me.
This did not go in:
This one did:
Your final score:
After the game ended, it was the usual crush of humanity trying to get out of the place. I saw Adrian Dater try and bolt through the crowd. The rowdy Kings crowd that was there at the beginning of the game seemed a little more tame after.
I barely saw a Las Vegas Wranglers jersey, but I was surprised not to see any Wranglers representatives at the game. Perhaps it has to do with the MGM Grand itself, but it looks like a missed opportunity for good hockey promotion.
After the game, I stepped out of the MGM to this:
The flight back to Kansas City was early, and I don’t do early well. Too many years of working in theater will do that to you. But there is still a little more to the story. When I boarded the plane, I was wearing my Colorado Gold Kings jersey, and a woman with a Dallas Stars bag asked me if I was at the game. We chatted hockey until the plane took off, and we started talking hockey in the Phoenix airport. I knew there was something in the way this person talked, and asked he if she was going to put he pictures online. She told me that she had a blog, and when I asked her what it was, she said it was a hockey blog called Untypical Girls. Cat and I talked hockey a lot more after that.
You wouldn’t believe how many more pictures I have, that didn’t make the cut for this blog post. I know I used a ton for this thing, but there are plenty more. I used a Panasonic camera with 18X zoom, which is what allowed me to get so close to the action on the far end of the ice. You can click on any of the pictures to see larger versions.
If any of you have considered going to the Frozen Fury game held every year, I suggest you make the trip. Stay somewhere within staggering distance of the MGM, and get your swag early, because lines are long. The MGM Grand, the LA Kings, and the Colorado Avalanche put on a hell of a show, first class all the way. I’d do it again, in a heartbeat.