It’s a two-hour drive from Calumet, MI to Marquette, and the two places feel as different as New York and Denver. It’s not just the size of the cities the rinks, but the tone of the hockey as well.
But maybe that’s expected, when you are in Hockeyville, USA.
Or, I guess I should say #HockeyvilleUSA, because you can’t have anything these days, without it being a hashtag. Also, please, get off my lawn.
So yes, this is Lake View Arena, which won the Kraft Hockeyville USA contest last year and hosted a preseason NHL game, as well as getting a bunch of money to upgrade the arena.
Of the six GLHL arenas I’ve visited, this is the most swanky of them all. It’s cleaner, it’s certainly warmer than the rinks in the upper peninsula, but what it has in swank, it losses in character. It’s a fine arena, and I bet the players appreciate it when they play here (and considering the drive time from some of the further off locations, a nice rink must be a bonus). But it doesn’t have that same gritty charm you get in the other UP arenas.
And that’s fine. That’s great, actually. Modern arena are wonderful things, and that you can have a comfortable place to watch and play the game is great. This isn’t a (complete) knock on the place. It’s just that what others have in character, this place has in amenities and comfort. It’s substance versus style.
Everywhere you look, the Kraft advertising and Hockeyville logo is pasted. Hardly a flat surface is left untouched.
It goes with the territory. If Kraft is paying for the upgrades, they get to splash their logo around as much as they want.
And it’s not like this place is without its charms.
It also has a second rink.
And a hallway dedicated to the history of hockey in Marquette.
But I’m ready to get to the hockey. In the white jerseys are the West Bend Bombers. In the blue are the Marquette Mutineers.
A quick camera note: for this game, I used a Sony RX10 mkiii, an all-in-one bridge camera, like a DSLR with the lens built in. The lens in the camera is fantastic, bright, huge range, fast enough zoom. The sensor on it is smaller than the one on my regular camera, and so the picture quality gained by the lens is compromised. I also used it at 10 megapixels, in jpeg, since everything that goes up here is at least four times smaller than what comes out of the camera. Still, I liked the camera and used it for the next game as well, but tried different settings. If I could only use one camera for shooting hockey games in my very amateur blogger status, this would be the one.
In goal for the Bombers, we have Billy Sias.
Versus a… zombie… apparently.
Alright, I kid. It’s not like I’m photogenic person, so I am sorry. Let’s get to the action.
Michael Babcock from the Calumet Wolverines told me that this game would have a different feel to it. It would be much more physical than the one the night before. He was right.
Taking in the game, on the left, was GLHL Commissioner Pete Krueger. What does the GLHL Commissioner do? Ask him yourself. I think you will like the answer.
Marquette got on the board seven minutes into the first. Watch the puck ride up the goalie’s stick.
When I said it was physical, I mean it was physical for everyone. Even the goalies.
The Mutineers responded with their second goal.
And their third.
A little over twelve minutes in and the Bombers were down 3-0. I’ve seen them play three times before, and they won those games 16-0, 16-4, and 3-2. This was not the Bombers I was used to seeing. It soon would be.
What do you think the discussion was?
We had a little four-on-four action, and the Bombers got another one.
The period ended 3-2 Marquette. Let’s walk.
The Mutineers merch table. Those are the chuck-a-pucks. They only had sweatshirts for sale. Hopefully, they will get some logo pucks.
The Mutineers are a new team to the GLHL. They were the Iron Rangers last season, but the team folded. Something to do with owing money and the city, so no one is really saying anything about it. This team rose from those ashes. The Iron Rangers had, in their one season of play, the most penalty minutes and the second worst goal differential of the league. The Mutineers are doing better in all categories.
Let’s get back to the game. Second period action.
Bombers tie it at three.
Still a physical game.
Bombers go up by one.
That is a good hockey goal.
Bombers go up by two.
The body language says it all.
No, this was not a “you doing ok down there, good buddy?” moment.
The Bombers take the lead, 5-3, into the second intermission.
See that sign in the aisle about obstructed views? Here’s why.
That is the span between the first row of seats and the ice. I don’t get it. How does this design happen? You know what? I’m not an architect, I didn’t do it, I’m letting it go.
These will probably kill you. And you will enjoy it.
Beer can. Get it? Wakka wakka. Only the good stuff.
Banners from the preseason game.
Let’s do this. Third period action.
Bombers make it 6-3.
It seems like every game has a ‘what’ image. That moment you look at and wonder, what happened there?
Marquette gets one back.
Bombers get an empty netter.
We aren’t done. Marquette goes hard to the net.
Bombers win it 7-4. The teams shake hands after every GLHL game.
As much checking and shoving as there was during the game, all is well after.
Thanks to Brice Burge, GM of the Mutineers for finding me and chatting with me about the team (and Michael Babcock for connecting us). He is very passionate about the team, and was excited to talk about them. If you can carry a team on enthusiasm alone, Brice is going to do it.