[First filed: Aug 18, 2010 @ 10:46]
On Saturday night I was invited to check out the last Canberra Knights home game of the season.
I’d been advised there’d be two tickets waiting at the ticket office and that if I wanted a good seat I’d need to turn up around 4.30, or just rock up at 5.30 to stand in the bar which is the only place alcohol is allowed.
A very short conference with my friend who was coming reached a strong consensus to stand in the bar.
Turning up at 5.30 we were impressed to see a queue at the ticket office. After a few short minutes our promised tickets were in our hands and for the first time in many years I was inside the Phillip ice rink. (Adult tickets cost $15 for those paying)
When I were a little tacker clomping around the rink, occasionally falling over, and desperately wondering how I’d get to talk to the girls in spiral perms and wham t-shirts who were whizzing around the ice, I did sometimes wonder why the parents had all disappeared to the box perched over the ice.
On Saturday night that mystery was solved when I headed up the stairs to discover the bar.
I’m pretty sure the decor has not changed since family killed time up there. It’s a real throwback to the 80s for those seeking to relive the wood veneer and formica years.
But the beer goes for $4 a throw and the view down the length of the ice is pretty good through the armoured grill. (All the seats are netted too)
These days the fashion runs more to black leather, tight jeans, more makeup, less leg warmers, and straight hair.
But peroxide is immortal and so are the pretty women who frequent ice rinks.
The National Anthem
After a bit of a warm up the players lined up, the audience stood (beanies remained on heads), and Advance Australia Fair was played.
The players then departed the ice and there was a lengthy delay before play started.
In roughly the time it took me to drink my first Carlton Draught of the night the players returned. There are some things which make ice hockey different to most games you might have been to:
- — It’s played on ice so movement tends to be along curves, but very fast.
— They play three periods, not the two or four we’re more used to.
— As a North American game they like stopping the clock. We timed one of the 15 minute periods as being an actual 30 minutes.
Our men in teal, the Canberra Knights were playing the Melbourne Ice and despite playing a lot of the game at the wrong end of the rink they managed to score the first goal.
Which was when a crazy old dude threw himself at the glass and started pounding on it to indicate his approval.
It turned out he was mostly harmless but it’s an alarming spectacle from close up the first time you see it.
Beers flowed, the Knights racked up a two goal lead, the action was fast, skillful, and generally entertaining.
In the last period Melbourne really started to get on top of our lads and land some heavy checks on them.
They clawed the score back and as the clock ran down the teams were locked at 2-2.
The hooter went off, and no one moved to go home. We looked at each other and tried to remember how it went in the movies.
It became clear there was going to be some sort of tie-breaker which turned out to be a penalty shootout.
That was quite exciting, but sadly didn’t go our way.
The packed crowd was a little disappointed, but still in good spirits. The players milled around.
For $15 and with very reasonably priced refreshments it’s a fun cheap way to kick off a Saturday night.