Saturday, January 31, 2015

Ice Hockey - Penn State versus Vermont

I wouldn't normally have been in attendance at the "Philadelphia Faceoff" college hockey game between Penn State and Vermont, but this year (the third annual) was different; Grace and the Garnet Valley 5th grade and Middle School choruses were singing God Bless America and the national anthem.
3rd annual Philly Faceoff

We were to arrive at the Wells Fargo Center at 11:00am for a 1:00pm game. The kids would be escorted down to the ice for an 11:15am sound check, then brought back to a waiting area to kill time until 12:20, when they would be taken back downstairs to the non-public concourses under the arena to wait for their big moment.

At about 12:30 the college teams came out for their fifteen minute pre-game skate, and then the Zambonis cleaned the ice.
Pre-game skate

At 12:55, the lights dimmed, the teams were announced, and then our kids came out to do their thing. In a professional arena that seats 20,000 for hockey, there were maybe 7,000 or 8,000 fans in attendance, which is not bad all things considered. We had about 100 kids crammed onto a few strips of carpet, but they sang well and got a nice ovation.
Garnet Valley sings the national anthem

Unfortunately, Amp and Julia were at the practice for Oliver at the high school, so it was just me and Grace, but we had a very nice time.

As for the hockey game itself, Grace got bored near the end of the second period, and it having been a long week, we left our seats with the score tied at 0-0. As we were making our way toward the exit Vermont scored to go up 1-0. As we were a little further around the concourse, Vermont scored again to make it 2-0. As they were announcing the goal scorer of the second Vermont goal, the horn went off again for another goal, this time by Penn State to close the gap to 2-1 Vermont. After watching 50 minutes of game time and seeing no goals, we heard three in the 5 minutes it took to exit the building. Go figure. (Sports kharma, I know...never leave a game before the end...).

Driving home in the car, and talking about it afterwards, Grace was pretty excited. Which is good. Not everyone gets to stand on the ice surface of a 20,000 seat arena and sing the national anthem. She said it was a little bit scary, but a lot of fun. I'm glad. This should be an experience to remember.

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