If memory serves, the last time I was in Indianapolis for a game was 2008, when the team was the Indiana Ice of the USHL. Before that, it was 2004 and the Indianapolis Ice was in their 15th season and playing in the UHL. Ah, the old Pepsi Coliseum. It was a barn. A shed. Heck, it was barely four walls and a roof. It was barely a floor and an ice surface.
Ah, there it is. In all its municipal glory.
Well, might as well head in. It’s raining outside and I’m sure there are mice in the place waiting for me to drop a little snack or two for them. Just try not to touch anything too grimy and keep your hand sanitizer close.
What is this? Where am I? This can’t be the old Pepsi Coliseum, can it? Where is the pro shop stocked with years-old Jofa gear? Where are the tiny bathrooms? What do you mean I have to go upstairs to get to the seats? WHEN DID THEY GET AN UPSTAIRS?!?!?
Wait, you can see in here now? There’s a roof? The paint on the outside glass isn’t peeling?
IS THAT A SCOREBOARD WITH VIDEO?????
You see where I’m going with this, right? This is quite a transformation. Because believe me, there wasn’t a bar like this here before. I would have known.
The whole place was renovated and renamed in the last few years. They gutted the building and in it’s place, installed what looks like the worlds largest Larkburger.
I was gobsmacked. That’s the only word I can use to describe it. This is so different from the old arena. It looked like somewhere people would actually want to be.
We will get back to the old place in a bit, but first, the players are taking the ice, and WHOA!!!!
I can not guarantee that the player in the picture is not on fire. But he isn’t. So relax, kids.
I just really like this photo for some reason.
This was the theme for the night. Pucks at the Evansville goalie.
Sometimes, it’s the simple solutions that work the best.
It was superhero night at the game, so we all got a free comic book. It was more like an Indy Fuel coloring book, but it was a nice gesture. Some fans got in to it as well. This gentleman is the ever popular, fearful defender of truth and justice, Tough Guy On This Side Of The Glass Man.
Let’s just get back to the game.
This is the Evansville goalie ducking a shot. Yes, he is wearing a mask, but Evansville is nowhere near the playoffs. Why take one in the noggin if you don’t have to?
Check out this guy’s skates. I think those are pads for shot-blocking, not just the tongue of his skates.
Fancy Dan (his name is not Dan).
I mentioned it was superhero night, right? How hard was it to find a Batman mask that fit the mascot?
Is there anything more demoralizing to a hockey player than a cleverly written message on a dry-erase board?
I love this sequence of events. Yes, it’s a goal, and yes, these photos are in the right order. The glove isn’t fast enough, but that shot was in and out of the net in a hurry.
At the other end, another glove save. I’m sure there is something in the fundamentals of catching pucks that you watch it all the way into your glove (like my Dad always tried to teach me catching a baseball… tried), but the way the goalie held it there several times, you got the impression that someone criticized his glove hand recently, and he was trying to make a point.
NO! YOUR SECRET IDENTITY IS REVEALED!
Not the Batmobile.
I will call him Orf. (Sorry, inside joke) Evansville should have signed this guy and taken him home with them. They could have used him the next day (and you will see why in the next post).
You can still see some of the old arena. This wall used to have a Gretzky banner hanging on it. If you aren’t sure why they would have a Gretzky banner in Indianapolis, you can find out more here.
The bones of the place.
This guy loves to smile. I just saw him play in Cincinnati, and he was smiling. It stood out.
I’m a sucker for a flexing stick picture.
The final, Evansville is shut out by the Indy Fuel, 3-0. Here is the game sheet. That seems bad for the Icemen, right? It would be nothing compared to what happened the next night at home. Stay tuned, true believers.
As for Indianapolis, good for them for the improvements on the arena. They managed to do something very few new buildings do, combine character with modern conveniences. Part of that is because of the older parts of the arena that are still exposed, and partly because they made some good design decisions. I like the place. I look forward to going back when I am not so stunned by the remake.