For New Year's Eve, we decided to head down to Rapid City to watch a hockey game. Rapid just became home to the Rush, a CHL expansion team, this season. The CHL is a minor hockey league, with the players in the league ultimately hoping to get picked up by a team in a higher level of minor league hockey and, someday, maybe by an NHL team. Shannon and I have been to several Billings Bulls games (a junior hockey, semi-pro team) but neither of us had ever been to a professional hockey game and Caiden and Chloe had never been to any hockey game of any kind.
To accomodate the Rush, Rapid City added a brand spankin new ice arena onto the existing Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. It was a pretty nice facility and I thought they did a great job of creating a good atmosphere and getting the crowd involved. Of course, being an expansion team, the Rush have had a kind of rough go of it in their first year.
Last night, the Rush were playing the Rocky Mountain Rage from Broomfield, CO (a suburb of Denver). The Rage just so happen to be just ahead of the Rush in the division standings, so a win by the Rush would draw them closer. The celebrate New Year's Eve, the Rush played the game in special, one time only, New Year's jerseys, which they auctioned off after the game (for a very high amount, I'm sure).
The game started out well for the Rush as they scored a goal early. Not long after that, the first fight broke out, and it was a doozy, with at least 6 different guys throwing punches at some point. Caiden was of course slightly confused as to why it was okay for them to fight, but he still thought it was pretty exciting. The score at the end of the first period was 1-0 Rush.
Rocky Mountain came out in the second period and pretty much shut down the Rush and played most of the 20 minutes on the Rush side of the ice. The result was a 2-1 lead for the Rage at the end of the second.
The third period is where things got exciting for us personally. About halfway through the period, the puck went sailing, hit the top of the protective glass and careened straight down toward our 4th row seats, hitting Chloe smack dab in the right buttcheek. Of course, she screamed bloody murder because, well, a frozen chunk of rubber hurts no matter where it hits you. But, she wasn't hurt seriously and quickly recovered. I think she was more scared and embarrassed than anything. Caiden thought it was awesome that we got to keep the puck. Right after that happened, the Rush broke out of their dry spell and tied the game up. Later in the period, they scored again on a 5 on 3 power play to take the lead and then added an empty net goal with less than a minute left to win 4-2. Caiden was ecstatic that they won....already at the age of 4 he can't stand losing. Wonder where he gets that from ??
It was a great night overall. Even considering Chloe getting smacked by a puck. If nothing else, it'll give us a good story to tell about our first family hockey game.