Last Sunday my friend Scott Thomas called and said he had an extra ticket to the Syracuse Crunch hockey game and wanted to know if I wanted to go. I hadn’t been to a hockey since 1982 from what I remembered, and figured that it was time to experience it once more, especially with a free ticket.

Truth be told, I’m not a major hockey fan. I can watch the game and enjoy it, but I don’t go out of my way to see it. I liked it better as a kid when I lived in northern Maine, but back then we had Hockey Night in Canada from the Canadian station and I enjoyed that; they didn’t show any basketball back then and thus it was the only winter sport, outside of the Olympics, I ever got to see.

Anyway we walked into the War Memorial and I saw a lot of things I don’t ever remember seeing before. When I saw the rink it didn’t look familiar, and neither did the surroundings. I’d been there last when it was the Syracuse Blazers, but it’s a much different animal now.

For one, it’s extremely loud. As opposed to the organs that used to permeate all hockey rinks in the past now they can pretty much blast any music they want. In this case it was something metal and ugly; ugh. The sound system was also pretty bad, although I talked to some friends I saw there later who said that the higher up you were the better it sounded. Since I had great seats on the level equal to the glass, meaning I was much lower, it wasn’t so pleasant.

The jumbotron, which I call all of the big scoreboards that hang over the sporting field, looked pretty good, but once the game started I realized that it was somewhat limited. It showed the game on the screen, which worked well when the puck was at the other end, but it didn’t have any listings for the players, didn’t tell anyone who was in the penalty box and why, and didn’t give any statistics that I noticed. At the Dome you always know what’s going on.

Also, this was my very first hockey game where time stopped. I don’t mean for something like icing and having to drop the puck, but times when all play just stopped for no reason. At least initially I thought it was for no reason until Scott’s wife told me it was because the game was on TV and they stopped for commercials. What? Hockey games now stop for commercial breaks? Do the pros do that as well?

And there was a lot more activity going on. They had Crunch Man, a guy dressed up as a super hero in a silver costume. They had the Tully turtle; for folks not from the area Tully’s is a local restaurant chain. They had the Ice Girls, who only made one brief appearance in my area to toss out t-shirts; at least I got one picture of substance, since they moved around so much and so fast that it was hard to focus on any of them.

I have to say that I was surprised that my feet didn’t get cold. I wore two pairs of socks to protect them, as that’s the reason I’d stopped going to hockey games in the first place. Yes, I had to keep some kind of jacket on during the game, but I wasn’t overly cold. And when did hockey become such a kid friendly game? I guess the mascots were there for the kids, who found a great outlet to scream at will at almost anything, with their parents permission, although I wish the parent of the kid sitting behind me would have stopped his kid from kicking my chair and leaning over to look me in the face. lol

Too bad the Crunch lost with two late penalties that put them at a player disadvantage, but such is the way of hockey and other sports. However, I was glad to be able to walk around and get some other pictures throughout the War Memorial, of which I can’t show all of them here. It’s really a nice tribute to troops who were from central New York that have gone to foreign wars and given their lives for their country. Frankly, I need to go back and walk the entire place to see if there’s more one of these days.

So, if you have kids and want to give them a place where they can yell and scream during the winter when you’re tired of them because you’re cooped up in the house with them, and want to see a sporting event at the same time, go take in a Crunch game; they’ve got nachos! 🙂