Milwaukee Admirals vs. Iowa Wild: You Shall Not Pass

Last night I returned to an unlikely arena, the Milwaukee Admirals home, the BMO Harris Bradley Center.  Not because it has such and unwieldy name, but because the last time I was here, I didn’t expect to return.  One change of lifestyle later (traveling all the time – ALL THE TIME), and here I am.

The BMO Harris Bradley Center (there has to be something better to call it) is also the home of the Milwaukee Bucks, the NBA team that no one has heard of.  The owners of the Bucks want a new arena, and they want the fans to pay for it, because that’s the way things work when it comes to arenas and sports teams.  The building is 26 years old, and it isn’t the prettiest thing ever, but it’s not bad.  Of course, that depends on who you ask.  From the Milwaukee Business Journal:

For years, officials from the Milwaukee Bucks, team owner Herb Kohl and other city leaders have claimed that the city’s downtown basketball arena is outdated and not fit for an NBA team. On Wednesday, a top NBA official, soon to be the league’s top executive, made the case clear.

“One obvious issue we all have to deal with is we need a new arena in Milwaukee,” said Adam Silver, deputy National Basketball Association commissioner, speaking of the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

For more, check out the coverage on Field of Schemes.

I’ve already stated I do not care for the NBA, so it’s hard to say what I think of the arena as a basketball venue.  As a minor league hockey arena, it’s gigantic and has much more capacity and amenities than the team needs, or they are willing to use.

For instance, there are eight box office windows, four inside and four outside.  Of the four inside, one was open for will call tickets.

DSC_6571_ADS

Outside, there were four windows, two of which were open and selling tickets.  It was a slow and cold process.

One person in line said that at the new arena, this wouldn’t  be a problem.  I told him know it was a staffing problem, not a building problem.  When you have only half your box office open, a multimillion dollar building isn’t going to fix what a $15 an hour (but probably less) job would solve.

I’ve already been to an Admirals game, so you can read up a bit more on my first experience here.  I mostly want to share photos.

Welcome (back) to BMO Harris Bradley Center.

DSC_6690_ADS

DSC_6686_ADS

Let’s just get to the action, shall we?

DSC_6745_ADS DSC_6742_ADS

This was a goal.

DSC_6705_ADS

 

This was not.

DSC_6736_ADS

Goalie action. This was a goal.  (Look under his pad)

DSC_6713_ADS-1

This was not.

DSC_6727_ADS

Could this be the best jersey in the AHL?  Maybe, but I would prefer a color I could wear more often.  That logo is awesome.

DSC_6679_ADS

The hallways of the arena.

DSC_6676_ADS DSC_6752_ADS

Most of the amenities were closed for the game, but the big bars were open.

DSC_6753_ADS DSC_6758_ADS DSC_6756_ADS

This is not the Zamboni.

DSC_6671_ADS

Team store.

DSC_6678_ADS

The Admirals lost to the Wild, 3-2.  Milwaukee gave up a goal in the first thirty seconds of the game, and struggled to gain control of the puck throughout.  They played dump-and-chase hockey most of the game, and kept dumping out of their own zone straight to the Iowa players.  It wasn’t pretty hockey.

DSC_6795_ADS

While I had a good time at the game, there was nothing transcendent about it.  Nothing special.  But I go to a lot of new places, and this being a repeat, there wasn’t the sense of discovery I usually have at a game.

This weekend will be different.

Admirals Torpedo Wolves 4-3

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.  Arena

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?

Scoreboard

This is a special seating area.  Other than that, I have no idea what it means.  Anyone? 

MAdmirals010313 035

Refs pre-game post-huddle. 

Refs

Action!  And let’s go to our first goal.  Look at the left of the net, that’s the puck in there.

MAdmirals010313 068

No doubt about it, that’s a goal. 

GOOOOAAALLLLL!!!!!!

The fans tell the Wolves goalie that he sucks.  It’s not entirely true, but there were times they had a point. 

Hey, you suck!

Random action photos.  Click to embiggen.

MAdmirals010313 083   MAdmirals010313 082

MAdmirals010313 087   MAdmirals010313 086

Thinking about face offs deep into the future.  

The Future looks Face-Offy

Intermission antics:

MAdmirals010313 095   MAdmirals010313 096

MAdmirals010313 104   MAdmirals010313 105

OK, enough of that, back to the game. 

 

MAdmirals010313 113   MAdmirals010313 119

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?

Hop

Bounce

And the Admirals crash the net. Chaos ensues. 

Chaos Ensuing.

And number 51 who you see right there swats the puck in.

GOOOOOAAAALLLL!!!!!

And there was much rejoicing. 

That's a lot of rejoicing.

The Wolves did what they could, but to no avail. 

MAdmirals010313 156

And that’s the game.  Admirals win 4-3.  

Updates from the travel blog:

Period 1 (somehow didn’t upload)

Period 2

Period 3

Boxscore from the AHL website

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.