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Saturday, April 6, 2019

Predators (Ice Bears) Get Strafed

The Ice Bears were wearing Predators jerseys.
Lasted 10 minutes; gave up 2 goals

And the next goalie came in.

The zamboni may have been the best thing on the ice for the Ice Bears.

2 on 1 mugging.

The Pensacola Ice Flyers goalie is so bored he's just hanging out, leaning on the side of the goal.

FYI: This one didn't go in.

Guess where the puck is.

It's pretty easy to find the arena and there is parking galore here so that wasn't a problem. The worst thing about the place is the price of souvenirs. I always buy a puck - no matter what, and I like to buy pennants or other things to hang on a wall. The Ice Bears don't have a souvenir store, they've got a place out on the outer concourse (the one before they take your ticket) where they've got everything behind a glass counter. You have to get in line and wait your turn to browse and buy.

I waited for about fifteen to twenty minutes and finally got to the counter. The nice young lady who helped me got out a puck and a pennant for me. Then I asked for the price of a plastic sign that said something like "Ice Bears Parking Only" or something else (I was mainly interested because it was in the shape of a shield - not for what it said). She picked it up and said "45 dollars." My response was "Uh, that ain't gonna happen." To put this in perspective, you can buy a metal sign with mounting bracket for your favorite NHL team for $48. Then the guy next to me asked how much the pennant cost and I, of course, mouthed off, "If it ain't less than $8 I ain't buying it." He flipped it over and they wanted $15 (NHL pennants cost $10 when not on sale). That went back in the case. The puck, which I did buy because I always buy a puck, was ten dollars (compared to affiliated minor league teams that range from $5, Nailers, to $8, Checkers). Remember, the Ice Bears are unaffiliated hockey in the SPHL - about the level of single A baseball.

Strangely, the big ticket items seemed to be normal price or even a little lower. A jersey was $125 which is lower than a lot of places charge now. Shirts ran about normal price. The full sized wooden hockey sticks were $35, which struck me as reasonable. As an aside, they made me run through a metal detector and wanded me until we figured out my metal rosary was causing the beep, but they were fine with people buying and carrying into the arena carrying the equivalent of a club.

So, I finally get in and start looking for my seat. I have to walk through the cheerleaders to get there (Woo-Hoo!) and I'm smack dab behind the net. It's a great view of the other end, but unfortunately the goal on my side was blocked from view by the floor. I do have to say, however, that the wooden seats were great. I get so tired of the uncomfortable plastic seats that everyone puts in their arenas and stadiums. After a little while, I moved to the next section left which was empty so I could get decent pictures.

The Ice Bears came out in Nashville Predators uniforms. As well, the Nashville mascot was running around the arena all day long. It was a little strange, but it was the highlight of the day for the Ice Bears.

The fans (all 3,122) were trying hard to get into the game and try to cheer, but the Ice Bears didn't give them much to work with. In about ten minutes, the Pensacola Ice flyers had scored twice and the Ice Bears goalie got yanked. The new guy's gear was better coordinated with his uniform, but he gave up two more over the next two and a half periods. Not that the goalies got much support on the other side; the Ice Bears had 17 shots on goal throughout the entire game.

The players lost interest in the game and got real interested in fighting each other somewhere near the end of the second period. This pleased the fans to no end. On the other hand, the refs were having none of it. I've never seen a more proactive crew. The moment they saw something start they were in there prying players apart - quite literally a couple times. There was even a fight as time ended the game and a ref jumped into the pile to pull them apart.

In the end, the game was a bit of a disappointment, but (as they announced several times) the Ice Bears are going to the playoffs so they must play better most of the time. Maybe I'll come back if they're hosting a weekend home game.

Next up: Carolina Thunderbirds.

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