In a sporting world that has so many teams celebrating Home Openers there are a few things that can help set yours apart from others when promoting your sport and/or team. Take for example the CWHL’s Brampton Thunder in their Home Opener versus the newly branded Calgary Inferno from Sunday November 10th. Here is a check list of how they stacked up to Opening Day expectations:
Capacity Crowd – Check! Very few seats remaining
Engaged Audience – Check! Homemade signs, out of town jerseys, heavy mix of age range.
Storyline – Check! Both teams coming of loses and very much needing a win
Fierce Battle – Check! Hard checking game of highly physical battles, 12 Minor Penalties
Questionable Officiating – Check! See above.
Tight Scoring Game – Check! Back and forth scoring 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2………
Great Goaltending – Check! 23 (D. Brian, Calgary) and 21 (S. van der Bliek, Brampton) save performances
Late Game Heroics – Check! J. Cunningham (Calgary) scores with 1:31 left to tie game at 2
Overtime – Check! Oh yes
Shootout – Check! Amazing Skill
Black Out – Check! Wait, What?
That’s right; this game had something for everyone, and just when it could not get any more exciting after Calgary had tied the game late, making a push for the winner, the rink lighting at the Century Gardens went dark. 24.6 seconds left on the clock, players’ hearts pounding, fans hearts pounding, everyone on the edge of their seat, and then complete darkness (Ok so the emergency lights were on, but you get the point).
But with the 20 minute delay that followed, nobody moved, nobody left, and not a discouraging word was uttered. Fans, including me and my 10 year old daughter, simply just waited with eager anticipation to see this spectacle finish. A five minute sudden death overtime would solve nothing and we would have to go to a shootout. Regardless of how you feel about shootouts being a deciding factor, I usually look to the future generations to determine what is best for the game, and there ran my daughter down as close as she could get to watch the spectacular finish. The next generation loves a shootout.
Lined up along the edge of the first row of seating was a collection of Girls Minor Hockey jerseys, Stoney Creek, Brampton, Oakville, Burlington, and Kitchener uniforms alike, these young ladies were almost as invested in this game as the players on the ice. Young minds were being inspired and Heroes were being born, so much so that even on the 45 minute drive home, my 10 year old was breaking down the finer points of the game using “Us” (Brampton) and “Them” (Calgary).
Then we come down to the cost of family entertainment for that Sunday afternoon, and usually this where bank accounts suddenly strain under the pressure. Well to watch Pro Women’s Hockey was $10 bucks a ticket, fantastic value for something of this calibre, and the Brampton Thunder T-shirt that my daughter asked for (and then had autographed by the entire Brampton squad at a meet and greet afterwards), another $20 bucks. The value of seeing my daughter stand and applaud a thrilling shootout victory by the Thunder, well that would be priceless.
Whether it is a Home Opener, Season Ender, Playoffs, or one of the grueling games along the way, the CWHL certainly deserves a look, especially if you have rapid Female Hockey Players at home or are a rapid Hockey Fan yourself. This league offers something for everyone, and what it lacks in outrageous ticket and merchandise costs, ridiculous parking prices or inflated concession markups, it makes up for in entertainment pure and simple. No Hollywood fanfare or over exposure, just Heart, Passion and a burning Desire for The Game.
However if you need the outside drama or theatrics to draw you to a Sporting Event we could certainly begin the whispers of why the lights when out with Calgary pushing and Brampton no time outs remaining. Yup, something for everyone.