Evenings With the Gwinnett Gladiators

Friday night I took Thomas to his first ice hockey game and he loved it! He loved it so much we went back for another game tonight (Saturday)! The team is the Gwinnett Gladiators, part of the ECHL, which is an AA hockey league. What excellent hockey! This team is really good, and this is their first season. Last night’s game was against the Pensacola Ice Pilots, which the Gladiators won 4 – 1, and tonight’s game was against the Greensboro Generals which we lost in a heartbreaking sudden death overtime 4 – 3.

I didn’t catch the attendance numbers last night, but tonight there were 5,406 fans, which for a minor league team in its first year, seems like a good crowd to me. The fans were just as enthusiastic as I’ve seen at any NHL game, and just as rowdy at times. The pre-game lead-in to the teams taking the ice is well produced and very professional. The announcer does a good job of getting the fans into the game. And the players give it everything they’ve got, but with amazingly few penalties. Last night two of the Ice Pilots got ejected for fighting, but no one got tossed tonight. Which is good.

We got there before the game started to watch them warm up and lo and behold, a puck came soaring up over the glass in our section. It hit the net over the glass and fell to the floor. I jumped out of my seat and high-tailed it to pick it up for Thomas. He was very happy, indeed!

And what’s probably most amazing is that my darling wife, who generally hates spectator sports, went with us tonight… and… enjoyed the game! She’s willing to go back again! Hoo-ray!

It’s been years since I’ve been to a hockey game and now I’ve been twice in one weekend. We are planning on going back next weekend when the Gladiators take on the Florence Pride. O yeah, Scooby Doo will also be there…