Sometimes a team just has to get out-of-town, and that team often seems to come from Port Huron, MI. When saw my first game in Port Huron, they were the Flags of the UHL. They were the Beacons, until the team moved to Roanoke, VA for one season before folding (There was also a Port Huron Flags of the IHL in the 60s and 70s). There was the Port Huron Ice Hawks of the short-lived NEW IHL, which was what the UHL rebranded itself as to stay alive. That didn’t work and the Ice Hawks folded. There was also the Port Huron Fighting Falcons of the NAHL, which is where we pick up the story.
This season, the Fighting Falcons moved to Connellsville, PA. They are now known as the Keystone Ice Miners, the team name being the same as the youth hockey organization that resides at their rink, The Ice Mine. That rink… well, you should see for yourself.
That doesn’t look bad, right? That doesn’t look like a rec league rink, right?
Then you step into the lobby, and the first thing you think is, this is a rec league rink.
When you walk in the front doors, to your left is the rink entrance. Everything else looks normal for a rec rink. Concessions, video games, skate rental. But there’s this little dark corner to the right, directly behind where I was standing when I took this picture. It looks spooky, like this is where you enter the surprise House of Terror that doesn’t happen to be marked with a sign and no one talks about or acknowledges exists. Or a storage area that everyone knows to stay away from except for Bobby Jenkins, the kid down the street, who wandered in there one day and has never been the same since. To this day, the only words he says are “cattle” and “orange-fish.”
So you know I’m going down there.
Yep, a full-scale roller skating rink. None of this says much for what I should expect on the other half of the building. Hockey lies beyond, though, so I must see what it has in store.
Let’s go in, shall we? First we must get our hand stamped by a rather creepy security guard, and go through what it looks like to enter an actual ice mine.
Can someone turn on the lights? Oh, they are on? Oh. Well, can I get a flash light?
What I am about to show you might scare you, especially if you only watch NHL hockey and NHL rinks. Those with weak hearts should keep reading. It will do you some good. You have been warned.
I think it’s important to point out that this is a general admission game, which is good since there are no seats. There are benches, and some of them had cards taped to them, reserving them for season ticket holders.
There is also no installed sound system, so on the penalty box side of the rink, they have four plastic, self-amplified speakers set up.
And the only way for them to be heard across the ice was to make them REALLY LOUD!!! No one sat in front of them. The national anthem was heard in the next county.
After the jump, the thing that made me laugh the most at a hockey game ever.