An arvo at the ice hockey will get your Adrenaline pumping
WITH mainstream sports around Australia laying claim to the standard nicknames, such as the Eagles, Magpies and Lions, the sports most of us associate with North America are left to pick names that aren’t synonymous with sporting franchises.
This was no more evident than on Saturday afternoon when I visited the IceArena to watch the Adelaide Adrenaline host the Sydney Ice Dogs in the Australian Ice Hockey League (AIHL).
I’d been to the ice hockey many, many years ago when my older brother had a short but unsuccessful sortie in the sport.
He could certainly skate and enjoyed the physical nature of the game, but felt that it was time to call it a day when he was checked up against the wall and used his collar bone to break his jaw.
Needless to say, our mother was all for an early retirement, too.
One of the companies who supplies services to my employer sponsors a player, Marcel McGuiness (who is listed as a defender, not sure how, more on that later) and through this sponsorship has three reserved seats and I was most appreciative of being offered one of those seats for the afternoon.
In a most pleasing twist, the side is sponsored by Big Shed Brewing so some more than acceptable beverages are on offer.
Yes, I will, thank you and given the nature of the host it was more than once.
A little out of touch with the rules, I thought it best I scrub up on the basics: so, to the uninitiated, ice hockey is played across three periods and I can’t explain why but the periods run 15 minutes, 15 minutes and 20 minutes.
Whoever invented ice hockey must have also had a hand in the scoring system for tennis.
They’re probably also responsible for those Facebook puzzles where three bananas = six points and you get stumped on the last line as they’ve take one banana away.
You know the ones, but back to the hockey.
The 15/15/20-minute periods are broken up by two 15-minute breaks, so you play 15 and have 15 off.
Generous, I thought, given the frenetic nature of the sport would make it almost impossible to engage in tactics during the breaks.
Defenders are forwards, forwards are defenders and midfielders are everything at once.
This is where I got lost on the positions the players are listed to play in as none of them seemed to have time to lob into their preferred positions.
With a maximum of 20 players on each side and six at any given time on the ice, the game is played at high octane speed.
Interchanges are constant, there must have been a conveyor belt under the stands we were in as one player would fly off underneath us only to be replaced by another getting shot out the other end.
It’s basically ‘sprint up, sprint back, get hit, come off completely gassed’.
The Adrenaline got scoring under way with six minutes remaining in the first period and the healthy crowd of around 200 people made some noise.
As with all American sports the PA is constantly asking for you to clap/stomp along to ‘We Will Rock You’ or blasting out some sick guitar licks.
Unfortunately for Adelaide, the Ice Dogs drew level almost immediately and within a minute had taken a 2-1 lead into the first break and the home crowd wasn’t too pleased (at this point it’s best I point out the Adrenaline went into the series 0-11 on the season).
The first period saw four penalties – three Ice Dogs penalised and one Adrenaline player sent to the bin/naughty corner for two minutes for tripping, interference and checking.
During these two minutes the player can’t be replaced (a Power Play) so it’s six versus five for two minutes.
Neither team took advantage of this.
During the first break a young lady hit the ice and offered the crowd some entertainment with a figure skating routine.
If I know very little about hockey I know even less about figure skating, so I’m not very well placed to judge her efforts, but needless to say they would be better than anything I could muster up.
The second period went by without any goals being added and there were no penalties.
It was a largely uneventful period, if not for my host pouring half his beer down my left-hand side.
Icy air, cold beer, wet strides. Excellent.
The third period pretty much all went Sydney’s way.
Two goals to none, three penalties on Adelaide and Sydney scored during one of those Power Plays.
After a 4-1 loss, the crowd made their way outside to warm up a little.
With Sunday’s second leg of the double header going the way of the Ice Dogs the Adrenaline find themselves 0-13 from 14 games on the foot of the ladder with their only point coming from an overtime loss.
In what I understand is a rebuilding phase for the side, season 2019 might be one to forget, or one that is the start of something more significant.
I have to say I’ll be back to watch another game in the not too distant future.
Entry is $19 for adults, drinks are affordable (and in the big red party cups, good value), the game is great to watch live and the crowd certainly get involved.
There’s some regular fans leading a chorus of “Let’s Go Adelaide, Let’s Go” chants, amongst others.
Whilst the crowd isn’t huge (perhaps on the back of the poor season) it’s a passionate mob – almost to a man/woman they are decked out in some form of Adrenaline attire, jerseys, beanies, jackets, hoodies and shirts on display, suggesting there’s plenty of people invested in the Adrenaline and the AIHL.
I suggest you too invest in an afternoon at the ice hockey and support the side representing our state in the AIHL – it might just get your Adrenaline pumping.