I’m unable to write the blog I intended due to the sudden and tragic death of a 25-year-old friend and mother of newborn baby. My hockey buddy’s baby. Horrible and I’ve been tremendously shaken as this just happened. But this story about Cleveland hockey needs to be told simply and succinctly.
Monsters win first AHL playoff game of their short 4 year history. One thing I noticed clearly was that in SPITE of all the elements working against them, this team has a loyal, amazing HOCKEY fan base.
Nearly 8,000 fans were there. They were there as hockey fans. To me they represented any NHL arena’s 20,000 fans. And maybe then some. Here’s a team, that is promoted horribly in the mainstream media, not really supported by their owner who I assume is Dan Gilbert, and full of guys who come and go as the winds of Colorado blow.
Yet unlike many other games I go to, fans I spoke with were knowledgable about the sport. Young, old, men, women. They knew what icing was. They knew that Justin Mercier elevated his game significantly to will the Monsters to a win.
While I love the Washington Capitals as a team, I’m always miffed at how many fans (almost every one) that I ask, don’t even know what icing is. They are there to be seen, as it’s the place to be in DC. I’m sure they have their core fans but they’ll never see the rink as the corporate goons want to tell their friends and some piece of ass they are trying to impress that they were at the game.
Cleveland Monsters fans are hockey fans at their core. Simple, and yet overstated in their knowledge of the team. The history, the rules, the players, the game. This core no doubt proved what I already know, we are a big league city with more than capable of supporting an NHL team. But in the end, I’m not sure if we need one. The Monsters play a great style of hockey that I hope doesn’t leave when Coach Quinn does. More later, but if you haven’t seen a game, get down there!
Some photos and videos to get you in mood: