I took Megan to her first hockey game last Sunday. We went as part of her brownie scout troop for a Chicago Wolves game. It was an eye opening day for Megan -- and it was a bit of an eye closing day for me after Megan accidentally poked me in the eye with her foam Wolves claw -- as she got to witness her first fight.
It was a doozy, too. Video evidence can be found below.
It happened right after the initial puck drop. I had spent several minutes prior to the game trying to explain how the game works. I kept it simple.
"The guys in the white jerseys are the Wolves, the good guys, they're going to try to put the puck in that net, and the guys in the red are the bad guys, and they're going to try to put the puck in this net," I said.
After the deafening pregame player introductions, Wayne Messmer came out to sing the anthem. That never gets old. I wasn't sure if Wolves fans continued the tradition that began at the old Chicago Stadium of cheering the anthem from start to finish.
They don't. And, it felt weird. Although, there was one guy a few rows from us who stood up and clapped throughout the entire song. He didn't care that nobody else was joining him. It probably would have been more embarrassing to stop mid-song, so he kept right on going until the end. Dope.
We were just settling back into our seats when the opening faceoff was immediately followed by a great battle between Wolves player Nathan Oystrick, and Knights' player Brett Palin. Oystrick certainly got the better of Palin. He landed several solid punches, took him down, and may have broken his nose. The crowd went nuts, and Megan had a "what did I just see?" face.
That was before they came out to scrape the blood off the ice. She looked at me, I smiled at her, put my hand on her leg and said, "Megan, welcome to hockey."
The legendary Pat Foley is on the call of the fight, which you can see below. Pat's one of my idols. I actually got to interview him about 15 years ago while I was in college. I owe that to my Mom who wrote him a letter, as only a loving Mom could do, and he actually called me to help set it up. I got to interview him prior to a Hawks game at the Stadium back in '91.
It's good to still be able to hear him call games.
If I remember, I'll share some old Blackhawk game stories with you in another post.
The Wolves game kind of had a feel of a Blackhawks game. Foley on the play-by-play, Messmer on the anthem, and a lackluster 4-2 loss.
But the final score is one of the last things Megan will remember from that day. She got a puck -- given away free before the game to all scouts -- signed by the mascot, "Skates". I bought her the Wolves' foam claw, and she survived, and seemed to enjoy, the most intense and loudest indoor pyrotechnic pregame displays she's ever experienced, and probably ever will. But even those things weren't at the top of her list.
I asked her when we got home what her favorite part of the day was.
"The fight," she said, without much hesitation at all.
Megan, welcome to hockey.