Sunday, February 03, 2008

Wheeling Nailers Game / Shred-Rodriguez Night

I attended my first ever hockey game on Saturday night and it was definitely an experience. I had previously made arrangements to attend the game after my last trip to Wheeling and had purchased tickets but the announcement that the Saturday night game was also going to be Shred Rodriguez Night at Wesbanco Arena definitely raised the stakes of the entire evening. After having to pay for parking at our office and braving the cold weather to walk to the arena, we were met at the door by a person who was passing out papers with the picture of West Virginia's very own Rich Rodriguez on the front. Obviously, these papers were meant for the shredder...


Upon getting into the arena and following a quick news interview for Stanley, we found ourselves at the shredding booth, which was manned by "the coach" and had a mob of people standing around watching pictures of RR being shredded. When I had first read the promotion for Shred Rodriguez Night, I had the understanding that people would actually be able to run him through the shredder themselves. I had looked forward to the screams for help following a lost finger...but apparently they realized that people playing with shredders was a poor idea and on "the coach" could actually do the shredding. And there was a lot of shredding to do.

After watching the shredding became boring and a quick tour around the arena, including a visit to the rink floor, we moved into our seats to see the zamboni preparing the ice.

After what seemed an eternity, the Nailers finally took the ice, led by one of their mascots named Spike. As a sidenote, the Nailers play a lot of music during the course of a game...very loudly. I will probably mention that again...

From the opening face-off, I was in awe of the speed of the game. It really does move and you can only truly appreciate the speed in person. Most people say it and I now believe that television does not do justice of the game of hockey.

The Nailers got off to a hot start and scored the first two goals of the contest. Upon their first score, I was deafened for a short period by the airhorn the blasts throughout the arena. To say this thing was loud would be an understatement of monumental proportions. This thing was unbearably loud. As you can see from this picture, the lady in front of us had a minature tambourine and the gentleman had a cowboy. All in good fun...

During the first intermission, the Nailers featured a dodgeball game between West Virginia and Michigan. Obviously, West Virginia won. The disdain for all things Michigan were in full effect throughout the night as most people in the arena wore either West Virginia or Ohio State apparel.

The action, as I said previously, was very good. Lots of big hits, lots of movement. Again, they played loud music during every break...but the musical selections were good. There were some fans around us who were really into the game and apparently attend most of the Nailers games because they knew the players. It's always good when there are passionate people around. In the second period, a puck flew into the stands 3 or 4 rows behind us. I had previously predicted I would get hit by an errant puck before we left...thankfully, this was as close as I got.

During the 2nd intermission, Spike and Buck entertained the crowd and then they did this promotion for a local Italian Restaurant in which people who previously purchased foam pucks could throw them onto the ice and the closest to landing in the center (which was Rich Rod's face) won a free meal. Very cool promotion. Also during that second intermission, a blimp and hot air balloon they fly around the arena attempted to shred a picture of Rich Rodriguez that was attached to the blimp using the propellers from the hot air balloon. Sadly, they were only able to shred his crotch...take that for what you will.

Despite the fact the Nailers scored the first two goals, they were unable to hang on and lost the game 6-3, much of the chagrin of some of those around us.

Overall, the hockey game was pretty cool. Like most things, much better in person than on TV. Compared to other sports, hockey offers non-stop action. The only thing I would change would be the length of the intermissions (18 minutes x 2) and the volume of everything that was happening. Other than that, it was definitely an enjoyable experience considering the price. It was a lot of fun and I didn't even lose my eyebrows...or something...

3 comments:

Neal said...

Shred Rod night! Great promotion.

I used to follow the Cincinnati Cyclones a lot (had season tickets). Now they are in the same league as Wheeling.

The promotions are similar, similar music.

My experience is like yours. Hockey is a great game to watch in person. Speed, excitement, good play. Did I mention speed?

Anonymous said...

That was your typical minor league hockey team trying to sell any seat that they possibly can. This organization is by far one of the worst in the league. The ownership does not understand what it takes to run a team and that shows. Attendance is low again and it only took them half of the season to pull the trigger on a coach who never proved anything. The Nailers will never be a good team under this ownership. The sad thing is the entire Valley has for some reason put faith in this team and will continue to be disappointed.

Anonymous said...

Correct me if I am wrong but did the Brooks not put together a first place team in year #1 with Bingham and then the team finished second in year 3 under Glenn Patrick and went to the Northern division finals? The past two years have been bad but that is minor league hockey. You can't keep players year to year so sometimes you will be down.