When I was a single, successful guy back in Chi-town I had season tickets to the Chicago Blackhawks. Not quite that successful, so I had to split them with 3 other guys so that I could still afford the beer payments. Second balcony, in the corner of the old Chicago Stadium and worth every penny. I knew the shortcuts around Chicago’s west side and which ones would get me there on time without risking my life or a carjacking. It’s hard to fully enjoy the game if you feel a twinge of guilt over having to sacrifice your date to street thugs to be there on-time for the national anthem. I don’t know much about Canada, but I do know that they kick our ass in beer, hockey, anthems and replacement singers for INXS. I secretly looked forward to games against our neighbors to the north just so I could hear O’ Canada. They should have put that on the songboard during Rock Star. But I digress. I got to see the Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup on that ice back in 1992 with LA Ray, then shook his hand and moved to Dallas the next day. A town without hockey. I take losses very hard.
Upon my arrival, Dallas threw together a minor league hockey team called the Freeze. Minor league hockey is like going from Michael Hutchence to JD Fortune. Not even friggin’ close, but it will do in a pinch and it’s easier to get a ticket. I highly recommend the movie Slapshot if you haven’t already seen it. You can feel good about yourself since you make more money than the players and don’t have to ride a bus home. However, the future didn’t look bright when I saw the zamboni up on blocks in front of the arena. Luckily, the Minnesota North Stars left the land of 10,000 lakes and moved down to Dallas for the waters. They were misinformed. They dropped the “North” from their name, although I would have left it for comic effect. Hell, they should have just kept Minnesota in the name, too, if not just to taunt their ex. Regardless, I ponied up for some season tix. It’s a well-known fact that hot girls like hockey and tickets increased my chance of contending for the scoring title that year. Unfortunately, about this time hockey players thought that they were worthy of NBA type money and ticket prices went up faster than a barrel of oil. I eventually gave up my season tix and found less expensive pastimes like petty larceny.
I still love the game, but tickets haven’t been in the F’er budget so I was pretty excited when Mrs. F’er called, told me her manager offered her a couple free tickets to the Stars game Saturday night, and asked if I wanted to go. I asked her if the Pope was Polish, having forgotten about the new guy from Germany, but she knew my answer was yes. Then I asked her who I should take. That wasn’t a good question and I was advised that if I wanted to take my girlfriend I would have to find my own tickets. So I waited for Mrs. F’er to get off work and we ended up leaving a little later than I had hoped.
Mrs. F’er (on the way to the game): “If we were on The Amazing Race I would let you drive, but I would be scared the whole time.”
We didn’t crash and only missed the first 30 seconds of the game. You can read a recap of the game in the newspaper, so I’ll discuss the peripheral activites.
Our seats were two rows off the ice (face value $110). People sitting down here have little interest in hockey and should feel great shame. I find that the real fans in any arena are usually in the cheap seats. I’ve left games at the Chicago Stadium with a broken hand after Chicago streets and sanitation workers high fived me a little too enthusiastically in the second balcony. Down on the glass people seem most concerned with making sure their children don’t spill their nacho cheese sauce. Note to the 17 year old white suburban boy sitting next to me: You’re a dork – lose the giant diamond earring, homeboy.
The Stars have added the Dallas Stars Ice Girls to “assist the club’s game operations staff with ice maintenance during television timeouts.” Whatever. Scraping up ice shavings is as necessary as shaving Jon Farriss’ ass during an INXS concert. The Ice Girls are there for the enjoyment of the predominantly male, horndog crowd. I told Mrs. F’er my plans to freeze the kitchen floor so that I could take an Ice Girl home with us (in particular the tall brunette in the center of the back row, who looks much better in person), but I guess she doesn’t like ice skating as much as I do.
The Dallas Stars Jukebox – At intermission, the PA announcer plays three song clips and the crowd votes for their favorite by clapping, cheering, or giving their neighbor a noogie. The winning song gets played in full.
Bon Jovi – Have A Nice Day: No cheers and lots of booing. It appears that your typical hockey fan is smarter than mainstream America. A scary thought.
Green Day – Wake Me Up When September Ends: Mixed bag, but support from what sounds like the high schoolers in the crowd.
AC/DC – You Shook Me All Night Long: Massive cheers, no contest. My faith in humankind and Australian rock bands is restored. It would have been more amusing if they chose Big Balls, but I guess that’s why I’m not in the promotions department.
Speaking of music, I’ve noticed that at major sporting events they feel the need to fill up every second that the clock isn’t running with music. It ends up sounding like you’re listening to a broken IPod that can only play the first 10 seconds of each song and pretty soon you just want to shove that broken IPod up the arse of whoever is responsible. If your attention span is that short, just stay home and watch MTV and leave my wide world of sports alone before I have to give you a lesson about the agony of defeat.
For as long as I can remember, the zamboni has not changed a bit. In fact, it doesn’t look like it’s changed much since being invented by Catholic priest Giuseppe Zamboni. Or maybe it was Frank Zamboni back in the early 40’s. Is it really necessary to have something that big and slow to accomplish the resurfacing? You would think they might have developed something more efficient over the years. I’ll get the Ice Girls on that project.
During the second intermission, Mrs. F’er was kind enough to issue a fake boob alert to me. However, she also issued a slap upside my head when I looked a bit too long. I need to find out exactly where that line is so I can avoid the headslap without shortchanging my visceral pleasures.
We stayed until the bitter end, including the exhibition shoot-out, since you never leave a hockey game early. In fact, I pretty sure that’s a felony in Canada. And you never know when a Mountie might be lurking around the corner.