First, a warning. I am going to have a photo or two in this post which probably is Safe For Work, but I don’t 100% guarantee it. And I don’t know if you are going to like it or not. But damn it, I was there, and I will share with you the sights I have seen, whether you like it or not. “Enjoy.”
Tonight was a strange night for Fort Worth hockey for two reasons. First, it was Star Wars Night. We will get to that in a moment. The other reason it was strange was that the game was played at the old home of the Brahmas, the Fort Worth Convention Center.
The Fort Worth Brahmas used to play at the FWCC until the 2006-07 season, when they couldn’t work out a lease agreement with the Convention Center. They suspended operations for the next season, and came back in the 2008-09 season as the Texas Brahmas, playing at a rink in the suburbs that isn’t much more than a rec rink with more seating.
The first Brahmas game I went to was in the 2005-06 season at the FWCC, and I’ve seen one at their new home. The Convention Center is a bit big for the Brahmas, but the new location, the NYNEX Sports Center is too small. The Brahmas are popular. They are very popular for a minor league team, in a way that the Dallas Stars probably wish they were. They have fans who have been around for a long time, and will continue to be for a long time. They could use the space the FWCC has to offer, but a lease can make or break a minor league hockey team. So in a small venue they will stay.
Let’s go to the game!
Walking up to the FWCC:
I mentioned that it was Star Wars night, and that conjures up images of awful rebel themed jerseys, wacky sound effects, and in-game promotions centered around using the force, right? No, it just means Stormtroopers in the lobby.
Stormtroopers that liked to point their guns at you:
Yeah. Oh, and there was a ZZ Top cover band in the lobby as well, which just goes perfectly with the Star Wars theme, right?
The lobby isn’t all that interesting. But the inside of the venue is… not all that interesting either.
There is a certain symmetry to the place, but that weird ceiling makes it feel open and cavernous, like you could yell at the ref all night and it would just bounce around up there. Come to think of it, I didn’t hear nearly as much abuse of the officials from the crowd as I usually do. I wonder why? No, really, I wonder why.
It was startling to realize who we were watching, and for the most part, the fight looked like a hugging match. But look a the next picture, even though it’s out of focus. Someone was bleeding.
Boogaard had to leave his jersey at the bench to get cleaned up (you can’t use a jersey with blood all over it), and when he was released from the box, we got a look at his pads. NHLers have all the latest and greatest gear, all light and fresh. It probably even smells halfway respectable. But not in the minors.
Those are old school.
How about some more game action:
I mentioned in the Odessa Jackalopes post that they throw rubber carrots on the ice after goals, and in Laredo, they throw rubber corn. Here they throw rubber purple Brahmas. That’s a bull for the rest of you.
There’s another tradition after goals with the Brahmas fans. I don’t know when they do it, but tonight, after the third goal, some of the fans take off their shirts and twirl them over their heads. Not a big deal, right? We’ve seen this happen before at games, it’s nothing special. But lets just say that this isn’t the demographic that normally does this sort of thing.
Remember that warning I gave at the top? This is why.
You can not unsee that. But if you’re going to be a fan, be a fan and don’t apologize for anything. I was smiling and laughing the whole time, and so was everyone else. And if you ever go to a Texas Brahmas game and they score a few goals, I hope you do to.
In other news, you can’t go to a damn arena without some tool putting on a body suit. We get it, enough already.
I tweeted earlier that with all the Stormtroopers around, this was the most dangerous hockey game ever. It was true for one fan who slipped on the concrete steps and broke her ankle. I’m no doctor, but when the ankle swells up and turns purple that fast, it’s broke.
Another fight, leading to some game misconducts. When a guy is down, don’t keep beating on him.
It was a bad night for the officials tonight. The ref got tangled up in a check and may have a few bruised ribs. And a linesman took a full slap shot in the back. They don’t wear that much padding, and it stung him pretty good. Also, one of the Brahmas took a puck in the Galiardis. He skated it off, but I know it hurt. It was also one of the better called games in the minors I have ever seen.
This game was titled the Fort Worth Faceoff, since it was a special two-nighter with the Brahmas playing in their old stomping grounds. Maybe next time, they can play the crosstown Allen Americans. The Brahmas wore special jerseys that were auctioned off after the game. I did not stick around for that.
Your final, Brahmas 4, RGV Killer Bees 1. You tell who won from the photo alone.
Tomorrow I’m off to Austin and Houston, and then six weeks in New Orleans. Not a hockey-centric existence for a while, but it was nice to see some of the best the other side of hockey has to offer. And there are more venues out there to find, more games to see, and more unusual history to be searched out.