Thoughts and observations from last night’s IceDogs game as they took on the Guelph Storm:
1. It had been more than two months since the Meridian Center last saw my shadow. It was nice to return, but I couldn’t say I missed it a whole lot. I go to games nowadays for writing fodder, not as a rabid fan.
2. When stopping at the IceDogs office to pick up my ticket around noon, I spotted none other than Bill Burke in the parking lot.
3. After selecting my seat, I inquired as to what was involved if I wanted to bring my DSLR camera to the game. For those who are unaware, in a policy even more restrictive than the customer-hostile NHL, the league and team require all DSLR cameras to be registered with the office prior to any game.
So instead of what I expected to be a simple procedure, I was told I had to track down Matt, who apparently was the Grand Poobah of Camera Registration in addition to his other duties. But he was not currently in the office. Groan. So, while leaving, who do I see in the parking lot but Matt. I caught up with him and followed him back inside, and all he did was print the date on a blank media pass, tell me I couldn’t sell the pictures, hand the pass to me and send me on my way.
I can certainly understand why not just any staff member would be able to handle something so complex.
But there you have it, IceDogs fans, for those of you who were so inclined to bring your DSLR camera to a game. Your welcome.
3a. Though Matt warned me I might have to show the media pass if any of the security people noticed, no one did. Not that I expected them to.
4. I again got a seat right alongside a rail, the only one in the row not marked as sold. Yet, once again, I was the only one in the row.
Methinks a little Fighting Moose math might be in play here. Loyal readers may remember those days when crowds of 3,500 or so were reported as upwards of 7,000.
5. I wonder if all these seats were marked as “sold” as well:
6. En route to the Meridian Center before the game, I passed by a church with this sign out front.
As I’ve said before, people in this part of the world know nothing about real cold.
7. Also en route to the game, I spotted someone running across the street yelling “AAAAAAAAA!!” at the top of his lungs. On a related note, on January 25, let’s talk about mental health issues. #BellLetsTalk
8. Just after going inside, I spotted an older gentleman with tubes up his nose carrying a canister of oxygen. Now that’s dedication.
9. In the washroom was a poster for a new “regional menu” at the concessions near section 105. New, or at least rebranded, was Pelham Poutine for $10, a Fort Erie Footlong for $10, Niagara Nachos for $10, St. Catharines Steak Sandwich for $12, Grimsby Grilled Cheese for $10 and Thorold Tater Tots for $8. No Wainfleet Watermelon, West Lincoln Waffles, Port Colborne Pickerel, Niagara-on-the-Lake Noodles or Lincoln Latte. I’m sure those respective municipalities are heartbroken over being omitted.
10. Passing by the Crime Stoppers booth, I noticed they were selling T-shirts for $5, polo shirts for $10 and hoodies for $20. A couple of people stopped and asked if they could buy some only to be told they wouldn’t be ready for about 20 minutes. Did they not know we were coming? (eyeroll)
11. Niagara College was the game sponsor and had a booth in the end behind the retractables. In addition to giving out three $1,000 credits toward tuition, they were giving out free suckers at their table. So it’s only suckers who go there? It reminded me of a job fair I once attended back in the Old Country hosted by the feds. Their promo item was a screwdriver, reminding you that you always get screwed by the government.
12. That stinking band made another appearance. Gratuitous noise for the sake of making noise. But at least they weren’t as annoying as they have been in the past. Or maybe I’m just getting used to paying money for the privilege of being annoyed.
13. In another effort to make himself the star of the show, the announcer whose name I will not mention was doing his pregame schtick from the concourse. The announcer’s job is to inform. Nothing else. A topic to be covered at considerable length in a future book.
13a. When listing the scratches for Guelph, for someone normally so well-spoken, he sure got tongue-tied on “Tetrault.”
13b. There will be people who will like that book. There will be people who will not. He will fall into that latter category.
14. The pregame ceremonies featured a curlerette who will be participating in the upcoming tournament to be held here in St. Catharines. The applause she got was marginally polite, at best.
14a. Was there really anyone who lined up for her autograph during the first intermission?
15. The kids from Richmond Street Public School struggled with the anthem duties, but they came through it reasonably well. The best part, as always, was that they sung the anthem entirely in the Canadian language.
16. A father and son seated a few rows in front of me were the lucky winners of the “move of the game” down to the ice-level seats. Given the condition of the glass, untouched by human hands in over two years, it’s a prize I would have declined. Seriously.
17. I continue to find it amazing what people will share with perfect strangers as they spend more time texting than watching the game. For example, a young woman seated one row in front of me was having a conversation about a doctor appointment and how a 63-year-old relative was battling cancer. Later, she congratulated a friend named Owen over getting a job and asked if he was going to see Zack, then moved on to Ben, another of her many male friends.
18. More people seem interested in playing games on their phones between periods than in the intermission events.
19. Bones made a couple of appearances in my area. His presence is always welcomed by the under-12 crowd.
20. Here, fans stood up and yelled for a prize from CAA. It reminded me of a promotional mailing I got from them recently, offering me a discounted membership and other incentives to join. For those who are unaware, I have never attempted to obtain a license to drive a motor vehicle.
21. A very pudgy teenage girl seated nearby was wearing a pink shirt with a pig’s face on it. How fitting.
22. Looking around at all the IceDogs and Leafs jerseys in the crowd made me appreciate not seeing all that Chipman gear around town like I did back in the Old Country.
23. Last night, I felt more a part of this community than I did ever before. Don’t ask me why.
24. Early in the third period, they were trying to get chants of “DAAAAY-O” going. For an evening game. Go figure.
25. Oh by the way, there was a game going on. After blowing a 2-0 third-period lead, Oliver Castleman’s weak dump-in from center ice with 23.1 seconds left somehow eluded goaltender Liam Herbst and gave the IceDogs a 3-2 victory.
26. I’m not sure if the crowd was happier over the victory or the fact that they’d get a free cheeseburger at Wendy’s for the goal in the final minute of the third period.
27. 4,759 were alleged to have been at the game. Debate it at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not the next time you visit Clifton Hill.