Hockey goals and overtime

A few years ago, I never would have imagined myself as a hockey fan. Today, I count down the days until I can go to the next game. Since Washington doesn’t have a major league team, I settle for the minor league games. The minor league team here in Washington is the Seattle Thunderbirds, who have their home games at the Showare Center in Kent.

No matter what day of the week you go, the whole experience is bound to be a blast. I recently just went to my first Tuesday night game. I expected it to be a drag, but it was better than some of the Saturday night games that I’ve been to. “Twofer Tuesday” sports two dollar hotdogs, popcorn, beer and tickets priced at two for the price of one. What more could be asked for?

Outside of the rink is a smorgasbord of food and drink, as well as a team store that is probably the size of a standard dorm but always seems to have more merchandise than expected. Their merchandise is pretty expensive: A replica jersey has a price tag of $129. The food is pretty expensive as well, but man, it is delicious. Half of the fun for me is gorging myself on their garlic fries. Piled high into the air with heaps of garlic and salt, these potatoes are comparable to the ones served at Mariners games. A few more of their most popular snacks are buffalo chicken tenders, polish dogs, nachos and more. The beer is incredibly overpriced, but that’s not any different from elsewhere. People literally guzzle them down before the games, attempting to get as hammered as possible before the puck hits the ice. It really does add air of hilarity to the game.

The seats aren’t the most comfortable in the world, but they do the job. More often than not, the place isn’t completely packed, so no having to deal with sitting next to smelly or annoying people. However, there are hilarious drunkards who yell nonsensical insults at the referees (which I actually happen to like).

Once the game starts, music loud enough to vibrate the ground fills the arena as the lights go off for a minute-long light show as the players skate out on the ice. People chant for the Thunderbirds and insult the opposing team, yelling, “(Insert opponent’s name here) sucks.” After the national anthem is performed, the game begins.

Not sure what it says about my character, but most of my favorite moments of hockey occur when players from our team get in a fight with a player from the opposing team. What can I say? It’s exciting and nerve-wracking. The most recent game that I went to, on Oct. 14, was probably the dirtiest game I’ve ever seen. Upwards of five fights, sticks being whacked into stomachs, players being knocked out on the ice… It was pretty bad.

Throughout the game, there are three periods and two intermissions. Each period lasts 20 minutes as do the intermissions. During intermissions, there are raffle ticket opportunities for money as well as a variety of audience-involved games.

Anybody who is interested in attending a Thunderbirds game to live the hockey experience can buy tickets online at the Showare Center website. Tickets range from $16-$24 a piece.