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A trip to the Ice Hockey – Spectating at a Canberra Knights game

By johnboy - 19 August 2010 13

[First filed: Aug 18, 2010 @ 10:46]

Crowd shot

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)


The Bar

Ice hockey bar

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)


The Girls

Blondes in a row

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.


The Game

Ice hockey

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.


The Finale

shooting for goal

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.


Wrapping up

post-game

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.

What’s Your opinion?


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13 Responses to
A trip to the Ice Hockey – Spectating at a Canberra Knights game
kellogg 10:22 pm 23 Aug 10

The question that begs is: what happened to all the promotion and marketing if it was the last game of the season. There is very little marketing or promotion. The team is run on the smell of an oily rag because the $20 000 ACT Government money — which should go to the local association to develop then sport — goes into the pockets of the rink manager. He doesn’t spend much on WIN or FM radio, and nothing in the Canberra Times. It’s all Chronicle and at that, pretty pissy little ads. It’s a real shame because it is the best game in town, after league and union. It’s unfortunate that it’s played in an atrocious facility with unsanitary toilets, dangerous floor coverings, and undoubtedly the worst canteen food in the nation. How there has never been an ACT Planning, Health, Safety or Food Safety audit ever conducted there amazes me. How much does the rink management really pay for this “intoucbability”?

Davo111 1:24 am 19 Aug 10

nice review

2604 8:16 pm 18 Aug 10

colourful sydney racing identity said :

It is a top night out, great atmosphere I would much prefer to go there than go to a 3/4 emplty Canberra Stadium to watch the Raiders.

I love hockey, but if you think a Knights game beats a Raiders game for atmosphere you need your head read.

Grrrr 7:11 pm 18 Aug 10

Ice Hockey players’ love of biff is incredible.

A long time ago, down in Melbourne, on a whim some friends and I went to a rink on weeknight for a skate. Turned out there was a game on .. some local Veterans match, something like that. No fee for spectators. We’d only been standing there 3 minutes before the first all-in brawl started. It was a good show.

sdcno1 2:50 pm 18 Aug 10

I am a huge fan of the ice hockey and get to the local games as often as possible. I love mixing it with the mad fans at the mezzanine bar and suckin $4 VB’s. Top Value!

Mobsta 1:56 pm 18 Aug 10

Anyone who’s interested in playing hockey should come to the rink for social games every Thursday night at 10pm. Great place to start before you join the league 🙂

DeanStokes 12:25 pm 18 Aug 10

My Mate Ken has been hassling me to have a look at a game one day.
Sounds like its a good night.

johnboy 11:30 am 18 Aug 10

Planting the seed for next season I guess Caf!

caf 11:26 am 18 Aug 10

As a promotional tool, they probably should have thought about getting you the free tickets sometime before the last game of the season!

Buzz2600 11:20 am 18 Aug 10

From my time in the US, I decided pretty quickly that Ice Hockey was the most exciting/interesting game to watch compared to mindlessly boring GridIron, Baseball and/or Basketball. Ice Hockey is fast, furious and bloody exciting … the brutality is breathtaking! It seems to be me that it’s what sport really is all about in a primeval kind of way.

Fiona 11:16 am 18 Aug 10

Nothing like a good excuse to crack out the dress beanie 🙂

blackberrystorm 11:01 am 18 Aug 10

Damn it! I would have loved to have watched the game.

Where was the marketing and promotion??

colourful sydney rac 10:52 am 18 Aug 10

It is a top night out, great atmosphere I would much prefer to go there than go to a 3/4 emplty Canberra Stadium to watch the Raiders.

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