I had a blast at my first hockey game. It also just happened to be one of the best in the team's history. The Flyers and the Gators were both battling it out for the #1 slot in the SPHL. Here's the stuff about the actual hockey game "LINK
;. And now - the experience.
I got there not knowing anything, really, about hockey. I looked up some stuff on the internet the day before, but there is only so much you can get from reading. I lucked out and got seated among a couple veteran fans who knew the game well and didn't mind my beginner questions. I was able to learn a lot and got a good understanding of the game.
The Ice Gators scored first, and the crowd, accept for the little section from Louisiana, was not happy. However, 8 seconds later, and we had our first goal of the night. Another back and forth 1 for 1. Then a break through as we broke the tie for 3-2. The crowd was especially pleased. Somewhere in here, the fight occured - explained later. Although not a positive moment, the audience was roaring over that. The next goal, #4 just added even more zeal. The whole place was on there feet by goal #5 and on to the end of the game. All in all,the players definitely came out that night to play hockey. Their fans were all behind them every step of the way. Everyone was very enthusiastic about their team.
Apparently, there is a big rivalry between the Ice Gators and the Ice Flyers that goes way back. Quite a bit of drama went on. In P1, after a time-out whistle, a little scuffle broke out between two of the players. Later on, one player (Brojek) managed to "samurai chop" a hole in one of the endzone plexiglass panels with his hockey stick. He was enraged at himself for missing a block on the goal scored by Salvis. After a 25 minute repair, the game resumed. A few more minutes into P2 play, and two players helmets and gloves came off as they duked it out - all and all, lasting about 2 minutes. Our guy lost that one, unfortunately. Everything calmed back down after that and the game resumed for real hockey minus those 2 in the box for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, all of the crowd pleasing entertainment/showbiz slash marketing/advertising/money-making ventures were going on between whistles. The "show" began with strobe lights and lazers to cheer in the starting lineup. It continued with all of the audience participation games - Chuck-a-puck, 15 second shootout ending with a marriage proposal and a YES, a blimp dropping pingpong balls for prizes, etc. To top it all off, it was mascot night. I guess all the local sports and marketing mascots were invited to keep the kids and big kids (grown-ups) occupied, and sneak in a little more advertising.
The whole event was a great first time. It brought back memories of the first time I went to see LSU football. I got to know my way around venue, the abilities of the team, and the spirit of the fans. I will definitely be returning for more Ice Flyers hockey.