This weekend, the Riverkings held their Pink in the Rink game, to support breast cancer awareness and donate to local cancer charities. They wore pink jerseys that were auctioned off at the end of the game, with proceeds going to charity, and held a raffle to shave player’s heads. More on that in a bit.
This was a return to the scene of the crime. The Riverkings faced off against the Pensacola Ice Flyers, who the Riverkings beat 6-2 last week in Mississippi, and 3-1 in Pensacola the night before this game. The Ice Flyers were 0-6-1 in their last seven coming into the game, and this was the ninth of ten meeting between these teams. Needless to say, Pensacola wanted this one.
I’ve been to a few pink jersey games. I even own a pink jersey. These are the pinkest jerseys I have ever seen. Ever.
Wow. Seriously pink. I had a moment of cognitive dissonance, simultaneously wanting one of these and never wanting to wear one. They are quite something.
The fans brought out their pink jerseys from previous games. As with any photo, click it to get a better look.
But we came for a game, so let’s get to it. Action!
Yes, that’s Flemming, from the 6-2 loss last week. He faired better this time, but he faced a “measly” 26 shots compared to 50 last game.
Sometimes this is what they mean by paying the price in front of the net. Just staying there can be a challenge.
That’s a goal.
We head to intermission, which featured a youth hockey shootout. Love this stuff.
The fans love it too.
The first intermission also featured a wedding proposal. Unlike the AHL All Star game I went to in 2005, she said yes.
Back to the game.
And a fight.
This eventually went it.
At the second intermission, the Riverkings led 2-1. The coach for Pensacola didn’t agree with a face off location and wanted to discuss it with the refs. He didn’t care for what he heard.
Second intermission featured a diamond giveaway, which this guy won.
Third period action! That’s a goal, and the Ice Pilots tie it up 2-2.
The Riverkings would get it back shortly, and pull ahead 3-2 with plenty of hockey to play.
Daniel Sobotka of the Riverkings is listed as 6-6. He is the tallest guy on the ice. Remarkably so.
This didn’t go in.
The final, the Riverkings beat the Pensacola Ice Pilots for the third time in a row, 3-1. A more evenly matched affair, Pensacola turned up the effort in the end, but could not get one past the ‘Kings.
BUT WE ARE NOT DONE! We still have a jersey auction and a post-game skate.
Here’s how the Riverkings run their jersey auction. The bidding would start and the highest bid would win a jersey. That winner would get their pick of jersey, then the bidding would start again. The next high bidder got to choose from what was left. I thought this was a cool way of doing it, so you could pay a little more to get the jersey you wanted, rather than wait for a player’s name to come up and a bitter bidding way to start. It kept the pace of the auction moving along as well, unlike San Antonio where it took a long time to get though. If I remember correctly, highest bid was around $700 and lowest was around $250. The auctioneer wasn’t well prepared and had to be coached along as to what was going on, but once he got on board, things picked up nicely.
While that was happening, there was a skate with the players going on.
Every so often, they would come off the ice to give up their jersey to the auction.
If you are a pure NHL fan, I hope this illustrates how close the fans are to the players, both in terms of proximity and of connection. There are a lot of good reasons this sort of thing doesn’t happen with players earning millions of dollars. There are many more good reasons it happens at this level.
The players take time to skate with the younger fans.
Then it was head shaving time.
Not all the players were so “lucky.”
And that does it from Mississippi. One more Riverkings game to go. Looking forward to it.