There was a part of me that didn’t want to go to tonight’s game. It was a small part, the part that was a little tired and knew there was a new book on my kindle to read (The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin, and I can’t wait to get to it). Also, the part that was a little bit lonely. I admit, it does get a little tiresome with no one to talk to on the road, and while I enjoy having my time to myself, driving for hours between cities does take it’s toll. These games would be a lot more fun to share with people.
So I share them with you here. And when I look at the stats of the travel blog, I don’t see hits or traffic, I see people who come along for the ride. I see hockey fans I get to share the games with, and the places I get to see that they aren’t able to (yet, I hope). So if you are one of the people who go to the travel blog while I’m on this journey, thanks. You make a difference in my enjoyment of this trip.
I didn’t want to go to the game, but I’m glad I did. It wasn’t the most amazing game. There wasn’t a lot of aggression, and it was one of the cleaner games I’ve seen in a while. What it had was a serious tone. You could sense it immediately in warmups. Perhaps it was my perspective from only seeing CHL hockey live this year, rather than the NHL. Perhaps the difference in play from the CHL to the AHL is really that stark, or maybe it’s that there are enough fourth line NHLers in the A right now that it makes that big a difference. But the tone was completely different. It had a professionalism I haven’t seen in a while.
First things first: the arena. The Admirals play in an NBA arena. It was built for an NBA team, and it feels like it.
When you sit in the seats, you sink an inch or two lower than you think you should. It reminds me of sitting down at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, home of the Islanders. You wonder when you are going to stop. For some reason, this screams of “basketball first” design. The boards in hockey are closer than the floor of a basketball court. You could see everything a basketball game had to offer, but for hockey, you will be looking past the heads of the patrons in front of you.
Jay Vean of the Avs Hockey Podcast made the comment on the travel blog that there were “Plenty of good seats still available.” And he is right, but that’s just how it goes. You aren’t going to fill up the home of the Milwaukee Bucks when the Admirals take the ice. No minor league team would, unless it was the finals, and even then, good luck. Sellouts are a rare enough thing in minor league hockey. This smacks of impossibility.
That is a big scoreboard. I wonder how players who call smaller and less fortified places like Rockford or Peoria home feel when they come to a place like Milwaukee, which plays in a major league arena. Is it intimidating? Does jealousy set in?
This is a special seating area. Other than that, I have no idea what it means. Anyone?
Refs pre-game post-huddle.
Action! And let’s go to our first goal. Look at the left of the net, that’s the puck in there.
No doubt about it, that’s a goal.
The fans tell the Wolves goalie that he sucks. It’s not entirely true, but there were times they had a point.
Random action photos. Click to embiggen.
Thinking about face offs deep into the future.
OK, enough of that, back to the game.
This is the game winning goal, with 1:33 left in the game. A shot on goal is stopped by the goalie’s stick, but it hops up in the air a bit. See it in front of his blocker?
And the Admirals crash the net. Chaos ensues.
And number 51 who you see right there swats the puck in.
And there was much rejoicing.
The Wolves did what they could, but to no avail.
And that’s the game. Admirals win 4-3.
Updates from the travel blog:
Period 1 (somehow didn’t upload)
With that, I’m off to bed. I’m exhausted, and I’m going to try to make it to stick and puck time tomorrow before heading to Cedar Rapids. See you on the road.