Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Night At The Rink / Red Deer Rebels vs Medicine Hat Tigers

Ahhhh... the sweet smell of fresh ice.

I decided to take my 2 year old daughter to what I thought was an exhibition game between the Red Deer Rebels and the Edmonton Oil Kings. Turns out the local paper got it wrong -- or something changed since it was printed -- and the Rebels actually played the Medicine Hat Tigers.

So we head to the rink -- I couldn't believe they charged me $5 for a toddler. Crazy! -- and it's pretty packed. This game was being played in Stettler and there's about 5000 people live here.

We grab a drink (no beer) and some popcorn and we find a seat. The anthem is being sung and the game is getting ready to begin. The sound of the skates on the ice was like music to my ears. I've missed that sound.

GAME ON!

The crowd is pretty amped up and the atmosphere is buzzing. The first real excitement was a cheap shot a few minutes into it which led to a fight. Well, the fight peaked my daughters interest too. "Daddy, they were fighting. Ohhhh... they're tough!", she said.

Well that was it. Every 5 minutes she'd yell, "FIGHT!" I'd laugh and say, "Not yet."

There was no goals for the first two periods. Just a bunch of penalties. Boring. Speaking of penalties. The referee's were tiny. Both guys were like 5'5". They looked funny in the middle of scrums. At least the linesmen were 6'0" and over and they dealt with the rough stuff.

I don't remember how many penalties I tweeted, but it wore out my phone. The battery died just as the 3rd period started. That's when the action picked up (of course).

With about 5 minutes left in the 3rd -- both teams pressing hard all period long -- the Rebels score to finally make it a 1-0 game. The crowd goes nuts. Once again, my daughter yells, "FIGHT!"

"No sweetie, they scored and that's a celebration.", I said as I laughed my ass off.

With 49 seconds left, the Tigers score to tie it up. Overtime it is.

Overtime was back and forth but no real chances. So the game goes to the shootout.

The Rebels' Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is the first one to go. He scores a beauty. The Tigers have a shooter go (don't know who) and he shoots wide. The next Rebels shooter scores and it's 2-0. The Tigers need to score or it's over.

They don't and the Red Deer Rebels win the game at a score of 2-1. Good times, good times.

THINGS I NOTICED AT THE GAME

- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is ranked 6th overall (right now) for the 2011 NHL entry draft. He should have been the best (or close to it) player on the ice, but he didn't stand out at all. He scored the winning shootout goal and he plays a solid two way game, but he's no #6 pick. IMO. I don't see superstar quality there. He will be good, just not great.

- Brennan Hunker. Remember that name. The kid is 15 years old but you wouldn't know it (other than his full cage he wore) on the ice. He's a decent sized defenceman and a good one at that. He fit right in with the rest of the players. For a 15 year old, he made no mistakes. None. I can't wait to see if this kid makes it. I'm betting he does.

- You know when the NYR salute the crowd at MSG with their sticks raised up high? That's what it looks like in a Junior hockey game when there is a scrum. Every scrum. The kids all come together and the sticks go up. Is it because they are "protected" with the visors they wear? Do they feel overly safe?

- I couldn't believe the amount of cheap shots. Whistle blows... cheap shot.

- The Rebels captain #6 Colin Archer is a very good defenceman. He plays with an edge to his game and he really did look like the best defenceman on both teams out there.

- The lack of goals tonight was strange. I'm thinking the tight quarters had something to do with it. The Stettler rec center ice surface isn't that big. I don't know the sizes of the Stettler, Red Deer or Medicine Hat's arena's, but I'm going to assume they are bigger than Stettler's. Some WHL teams play in NHL arena's.

- I have never been a guy who likes the mascot idea. For the most part I think they are dumb. But my daughter thought he (Red Deer Rebels Buffalo mascot) was pretty neat. All game she asked me, "Where's that buffalo Dad?". Then they finally met face to face. When the buffalo reached out his hoof for a high five, my daughter literally climbed over me in fear of him. He walks away and she's asking me, "Where's the buffalo going? He's not scary right Dad?" lol. Kids are great.

So can I admit I was wrong? The amount of kids I seen following that buffalo around all night made me realize, even if I hate mascots, the kids love them.

They do have a purpose? Who knew?

Well that's it from me. It was nice to get out and watch a game. Live and in person.

The best part of this whole experience? My daughters last words before she closed her eyes in bed, "Dad? I want to play hockey."

*tear in eye*

-Written by Smokin' Ray-

2 comments:

  1. Regarding Nugent-Hopkins:

    You have to remember that this is preseason and much like many youngins at the junior level they do not take their summers as seriously as most. Give him a few weeks of camp and he will be dynamite in the regular season.

    If you have a chance to see another game 2-3 months down the line I am very confident he will impress you. I saw him play twice last year and his skill level is far beyond the older players at the time.

    Good read though and I'm happy that the little one enjoyed it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree...having seen Ryan Nugent-Hopkins play in person a few times last year, I have no doubt he will be a big-time player in the NHL. Smooth, slick and very dangerous. Great story!

    ReplyDelete

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