Hockey season, that is!
We are pretty big sports fans here at my house, especially fall and winter sports. If you come in my house during the fall and winter months, odds are pretty high that the television is going to be tuned into either a football or hockey game, or maybe a soccer match. (Otherwise it’s usually the news, I have a bit of an addiction.)
Last night was the home opener for the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL. Two seasons ago, we had season tickets to the Walleye and had a lot of fun at the games. The past couple of years though, we made the decision against season tickets, but we still attend a good number of games. Of course, the home opener is a MUST.
Before the game, we met our friends at Maumee Bay Brewing Company, which is our favorite restaurant in downtown Toledo. The food is good, the portions generous and the prices fair. (I hear the beer is good, too, but I wouldn’t know since I don’t drink the stuff.) They also give you 10% off your food bill when you show your Walleye tickets.
After dinner we headed to the arena. The Huntington Center is a great, new venue in the heart of downtown – built for the Walleye’s inaugural season in 2009. I wanted to get a photo of it, but we parked in an adjoining garage and took the skywalk to the arena, so we didn’t go in the front door.
We didn’t have our usual seats for the home opener, instead we splurged on club seats, which are a level up. We had a great view of all the action!
Here’s center ice, all pristine before the game.
We walked around to the opposite side of the club level for me to take that photo. Then we waited for the players to come out of the dressing room for warm-ups.
I wanted to get a shot of them knocking the pucks off the boards.
I found that photographing the goalies was easiest, since they move around the least!
I did get a shot of defenseman Shane Sims stretching.
After warm-ups, the Zambonis came out and cleaned the ice, then the arena went dark, ready for the team to make their grand entrance. The Pond Patrol inflated the giant walleye tunnel and soon the players (almost all new names for this season) were skating out between the flames.
Even though the player is blurry in this photo, I liked it because I got the flames in. Also, it turned out better than I expected, considering the safety netting was obstructing most of my view.
The teams (the Walleye were hosting the Cincinnati Cyclones) lined up for the national anthem…
…and then it was time for the first puck drop of the season!
During the first intermission they always play musical bean-bags. The team’s two mascots, Spike and Cat Trick are there to cheer on the contestants. (Or sometimes impede them, 🙂 )
Super-Spike the remote controlled balloon also makes the rounds around the arena, dropping prizes.
When the teams took the ice for the second period, I got this funny shot of the goalie, Jeff Lerg, stretching again.
No hockey game would be complete without a fight, although this one barely qualified.
The Walleye played from behind the entire game – the Cyclones scored in the first two minutes. They tried to come back in the third period and got within one goal.
But then the Walleye pulled their goalie with a minute thirty left and the Cyclones scored two empty net goals for a 4-1 loss for the Walleye.
It will be interesting to see how the team progresses this season, with a new coach and mostly new players. I’m sure we will go to plenty of games, but I promise I won’t blog about them all! We do have tickets for the Detroit Red Wings for February 16 – my favorite team faces off against Mark’s favorite team – the Montreal Canadiens. (Tickets are our Valentine gift.) You can bet I’ll write about that one!
I hope I didn’t bore you too much with this post. We haven’t done much of an adventurous nature lately and I don’t like letting my blog languish for too long at a time. If you are ever in the Toledo area and are looking for a fun evening, the Walleye always put on a good show!
The pre-game fun seemed more exciting than the game photographically. I was expecting to see more shots of fights from what I have seen of ice hockey before.
There were not many fights in this game, I can only remember one big one besides the one I photographed and it was at the far end of the arena and over before I got my camera turned back on. Since it was the first game of the season, rivalries haven’t had a chance to foment yet. And of course, the hockey leagues are doing a lot to discourage fighting now. Also, I took a ton of shots of action during the game, but none of them were brilliant. LOL
I tried watching hockey on TV, and could never figure out why any one would watch. Then, I got to see a Red Wings game in person, and then I knew why people watched. 😉 We have minor league teams for both the Red wings and Tigers here in GR, but I’ve never been to a game for either of them. Your post may change that, it was very good!
My brother-in-law took me to my first Red Wings’ game when I was about 15, at the old Olympia arena. I thought it was wild fun! I spent a lot of late nights with crying babies watching hockey. 🙂 Grand Rapids usually takes all the good Walleye players when their guys get called up to the Wings. We want to get over there for a Griffin’s game one of these days!
Looks like a fun time!
It was a great night, except for the loss, LOL.
I once went to a fight, and a hockey game broke out. 🙂 Hey, Amy, I loved this “play-by-play” post. Much fun. Reminded me of when I lived in Muskegon and we had a team in the IHL. Exciting times. Love hockey. Edge of the seat action!
😀 Glad you enjoyed it, Bob! I think the minor leagues give a good value for the money – the games are pretty entertaining and they usually put on a good, family friendly show. I’m looking forward to the Red Wings game in Feb. but considering the price of tickets there – especially if you don’t want to be sitting up in the rafters – one or maybe two games in a season is the most we can afford! Walleye tickets are only $15 a seat, $25 for club seats where we were for this game, a pretty good deal.