Tag Archives: Thoughts

Don’t Call it a Recap: Everblades vs. Solar Bears (12/19/12)

I’ve been struggling with how to recap games since the season started. The reason why I’ve been struggling with how to write them is actually a very simple one.

I just really hate writing a traditional game recap.

Once I was able to accept that things became so much easier. So, my lovely… swamp people (we really need to have a meeting and decide on what we want to call ourselves), I present to you something a little bit different from a traditional recap.

Now, on with the show:

I don’t think any of us expected the Solar Bears to do as well as they did after their recent race to the bottom of the division. I guess we should have expected them to decide to play decent hockey at the least convenient time possible. That is pretty much the way this season’s going.

Worst moment: I’m going to go with the Sisca breakaway goal. You could feel everything deflate right after that. Oh no, wait… it was when the Bears started playing the trap. Yup, that was the worst moment ever.

Time for a fun exercise: 5 Things more exciting than trap hockey

  1. Watching paint dry or grass grow
  2. A four hour C-Span marathon
  3. Kristen Stewart ‘acting’
  4. doing anything that involves the DMV/Post Office/IRS

Best moment: Hands down, Mark Stuart pissing Nick Petersen off. The look on his face when Petersen dropped his gloves was priceless. O’Byrne dumping a Bear forward (I forget who) in the second was pretty hilarious too.

Worst stupid  zebra moment: Hard to pick. Go ahead and go with any of the twenty missed calls on the Bears, Petersen not getting penalized for his attempt at fighting Stuart, the ridiculous bench minor for abusive language (You are quite clearly a blind idiot Ryan Murphy, telling the truth isn’t abuse), or the unsportsmanlike call on Bobby Raymond.

My feelings about the game in Lol Cat form:

angermanagement

If you want to rub salt in the wound

Game photos


Opening Night

After what seemed like an eternity, the night we’ve been waiting for is finally here. Obviously, our wait for the season to begin can’t compare to our wait for the Kelly Cup. But, it was still long and miserable.
Unlike a lot of hockey fans, we’re lucky the lockout came. For at least the next few days (or weeks, or months) we get to see a majority of the guys that won us a Kelly Cup. It’s safe to say that a majority of them don’t belong down here. They have proven they have skills to be playing in the AHL. But fate is odd, and we get our boys back for however long people see fit to argue about what millionaire deserve a few extra million more than another. We get to see our guys take the ice in the blue and green once again.

And it feels good.

So tonight, remember, you are a fan of the Florida Everblades. It doesn’t matter if you were one of the original season ticket holders or someone who just joined up right before the final game of the playoffs. We’re all Everblades fans. Bring your signs, crazy wigs, cowbells, and any other crazy thing you can think of. Tonight is not a night to be modest or subtle about your love for this team.
Tonight is the night to celebrate their accomplishment and our commitment. Be loud, be proud Blades fans. We deserve this.

Wow, that was really to serious guys. Please enjoy this kitty as an apology.
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It’s Finally Here

  We’re skipping the usual Friday Links post to bring you a special post featuring Chelsea’s writing and my photos, a one two punch of mind-blowing blog-nificence to celebrate the long dull off-season finally being over.
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The morning has dawned on the Everblades first preseason game. The long summer is over, the ice is set and the Florida Everblades are set to take on the Orlando Solar Bears. 
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Four years ago I stopped by the Everblades training camp for the first time. I had just transferred down to Florida from Connecticut and I was still looking for my place in the universe. I sat alone in the main arena as the players took the ice and I had a moment of well being surround me.
 
I’m not an athlete, I can’t skate to save my life, but hockey is my home. I’ve since decided to work in hockey and have gotten to experience some great moments. Walking into an empty arena with the hum of the air conditioner and the subtle (not subtle at ALL) hockey smell is soothing.
 
As I made my yearly trip to training camp I saw some differences from previous years. This year I wasn’t the only one sitting in the stands. There were Everblades t-shirts and sweaters with little kids trying to peak over the glass. 
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There also weren’t many players on the ice. The AHL training camps over lapped with the ECHL this year. The early days of training camp brought back Everblades favorites and regulars like Mathieu Roy, Matt Marquardt, Trevor Bruess and long time emergency back up Brian Markowicz.
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The ‘Blades affiliates sent reinforcements yesterday. The Kelly Cup squad is reassembling with the additions of David Rutherford, Joe Sova, Matt Beca, Pat Nagle and Bobby Raymond. There are several newcomers for the season including goalie Rob Madore. 
 
So in the spirit of the season here are the three things you should know about tonights game:
1. Which mascot would win in a fight?
It’s Swampee versus a polar bear in sunglasses. While polar bears are ferocious, Swampee is an alligator on ‘roids. I may be biased, but I’m giving this round to Swampee.
John Muse
 
2. Don’t forget the goalies.
It’s easy to talk goals and hits, but don’t forget the goalies. Last years playoff MVP was goaltender John Muse. While his play was superb, so were his idiosyncrasies and routines. Watch the warm up and see what you learn.
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3. Say cheese!
Take pictures. It really is an experience and you never know what gems you’ll produce. You’ll also be able to get up close and personal in Breakaways after the game. Let the guys eat, but they’ll stop by and say hi and take photos. I hear Rutherford had his teeth replaced this summer so he’s ready for the camera.
It should be a good match up with the resurrected Solar Bears. Don’t expect perfection, the preseason is a place of learning and experimentation, but do expect a good game. The Everblades almost always deliver.

So Your Team is Locked Out: Florida Everblades 101

Also known as: Your hockey team is locked out and you desperately need a hockey fix. Unfortunately, you live in South Florida so the Juniors or the AHL are not really options. Also, everyone knows the Solar Bears suck so you decided to back a winner.I know you guys, it sucks more than biting your tongue… after you’ve already bit it twice before. I’ll miss my trips to Sunrise and Tampa more than anything. However, it’s not as though hockey season is a total wash for me (or you). Florida happens to be home to two minor league teams, the Florida Everblades (yay!) and the Orlando Solar Bears (boo!).I might be biased toward the Everblades, my hometown team, but they really are better (and they don’t wear a hideous color like teal). Since I’m going to assume you’ve decided to make the wise decision and back a winner, I’m going to give you all the best tips and tricks you’ll need to be the very best Everblades fan you can be.

First, some important links:
– A quick look at some basic Blades info.
– The team’s website.
– The arena’s website.
My list of Everblades players (current and former) on Twitter.
– Basic info on the ECHL from Wikipedia.
More from HockeyDB.
– The Leagues website.

Next, logistical stuff:

- The Arena is located just off of I-75 (so close you can actually see the arena from the Interstate). It’s about a two and a half hour trip from Tampa or Sunrise, and I recommend getting off at exit 123, Corkscrew Road. It’s the quickest and easiest route and reduces the amount of mind-numbingly stupid traffic.

- The arena sits right next to a large outlet mall, and many choose to park there, eat and then walk to the arena. I’m sure some people park there to save themselves the $5 charge for parking too.

- There are plenty of food stands in the arena. The stands are operated by local groups (youth sports teams mostly) that get a cut of the profits from their sales during the night. They sell typical arena food as well as some more unusual fare, wraps, make your own nachos, etc.

- There are plenty of restaurants nearby as well. On top of the restaurants at the nearby outlet, there are also many located in Gulf Coast Town Center and a bit further away at Coconut Point, and several chain and fast food places in between.

- There are also plenty of bars for post-game fun around. Any regular Blades fan under 50 could probably recommend a good place.

- Just like any place in Florida near an Interstate exit, there are tons of hotels nearby so it should be pretty easy to find one.

Also, there are also plenty of touristy things to do if you want make a mini-vacation out of your visit here.

- Ive already mentioned the excellent shopping opportunities so, no need to repeat myself.

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-I recommend Sanibel /Captiva island for the natural beaches, National Park, and low-key atmosphere (there is a toll to get to the island and into the national park). Ft. Myers Beach and Vanderbilt Beach are nice as well, but get a little congested and hard to navigate.

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-If you like a bit of history, you have to check out Koreshan State Park to hear all about the zany cult that used to call Estero home. You can also check out the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in nearby Ft. Myers, and maybe check out the downtown River District while you’re there.

- There’s also other things like manatee tours (or visit the park), fishing charters, kayaking tours, swamp tours, etc (basically all the outdoorsy water related stuff you’d expect down here).

- If you’re coming from the East across Alligator Alley you should check out some of the Seminole Tribes attractions.

- The Red Sox and Twins call Ft. Myers home for spring training (if, god forbid, the lockout lasts that long), and a few other MLB teams are in nearby cities. The Ft. Myers Miracle also play minor league ball at Hammond Stadium.

But enough of that, the real stuff you need to know is how to fit in with your fellow Blades fans, and all the secret tips and tricks, right?

- Obviously, wearing anything blue or green is a safe bet. They will be throwing free Everblades t-shirts into the crowd like any respectable team would. There is one pro shop, located between the recreational rinks and two stands selling team branded merchandise. There is also a table with all the marked down merchandise next to the box office. I’ve picked up some cheap jerseys there.

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- We started throwing plastic alligators on the ice after wins during the playoffs (much like your rats Panthers fans). Lord knows if we will be allowed to keep that tradition up, but the team did start selling gators at their stands, so maybe we will be allowed to keep the tradition as long as the Blades are making a profit.

- There really aren’t any bad sight lines that I know of. Some seats in the middle of the corner rows are weirdly smaller than the others. Club level seating and below have cushioned seats with cup holders. Anything above club level is hard plastic with no cup holder.

- I’ve found all the ushers to be nice and very helpful. They’re pretty good about enforcing arena rules too.

- Along those lines: you are not allowed to pound on the glass, you can not set your drinks on the boards if you’re in the first row, and they are pretty strict about enforcing seating.

- You might want to bring a cowbell (or buy one at the souvenir stands). Yes, we are those kinds of fans, but now you are too.

-  Appropriate moments to ring your cowbell: Killed penalties, powerplays, goals, great saves… you know what? We really just ring those things any time we’re given a reason. Maybe you should take an aspirin before the game.

- Our mascot is Swampee, he’s an oddly muscular alligator. He’s not bad as mascots go and he loves getting his picture taken. Yes, we have ice girls. They’re called the Everbabes. They used to do dance numbers but didn’t last season. No idea if they’re bringing that back or not.

- Puck drop is usually at the time listed. with warm-ups being a half hour before puck drop. You are allowed to be down by the ice during warm-ups. The guys last season were pretty good about tossing pucks to kids once the majority of warm-ups were over.

- I’ve had no issues using my DSLR and 200mm lens in the three years I’ve been taking it to games and I’ve seen video cameras out as well.

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- The following players are considered gods within Germain Arena: Tom Buckly, Reggie Berg, and Ernie Hartlieb. The first two have their numbers retired. Ernie’s will be retired this season. Any Everblade who has made it to the NHL is also pretty well respected.

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- It’s also pretty fair to say that all the players (and the coaches) from the Kelly Cup winning squad are beloved as well. Specifically Brandon MacLean (the player who scored the goal in overtime that won the Blades the cup), John Muse (the MVP and major reason they won), and Mathieu Roy (the team’s captain).

- After goals, the team plays the always classic “Rock and Roll part 2″ by Garry Glitter. We then chant “We’re gonna beat the heck out of you! You! You!”.

- Both the fan club and youth teams raffle off Blades goodies during games. The fan club usually has a signed jersey, stick or photo at their tables. Though they like to mix it up and sometimes and give away really unusual stuff. The youth teams usually have a game worn jersey. They don’t usually appear on weekdays (it is a school night), but are easy to spot on Friday and Saturday games walking the concourse with a parent and a sign. The raffle tickets are drawn at the end of the second and announced during the third.

- Like any good fan base we do not like our division rivals, and games against them (especially Greenville and Gwinnet) can get pretty rough (and rowdy). The Orlando Solar Bears are new, but I’m sure they’ll be just as hated, if not more so.

- The Greenville Road Warriors, Elmira Jackals, and Kalamazoo Wings will all have an axe to grind after being destroyed by the Blades in the playoffs (they were undefeated at home during the playoffs, by the way). They swept the Road Warriors, and beat both Elmira and Kalamazoo 4-1. Needless to say, they’ll come to town with something to prove.

- After the games be sure to head up to Breakaways, the restaurant in the arena (you can also sit up there during games, but you have to reserve those ahead of time). You take the elevator across from the pro shop to get there. You can meet the players and get autographs there. It’s also open before games, but they won’t sit you if it’s close to game time.

- The players do get a post-game meal up there too. Don’t be the jerk that interrupts them when they’re eating. Just don’t. They always make time to talk to fans so you will get your chance.

- I believe there’s also an open skate held on one of the recreational rinks after games, so if that’s your thing, there you go.

That’s all the important stuff I could think of, but I’m sure I’ve missed something. If you have any questions you can shoot me an email at SwampHockey@gmail.com or find me here on Twitter.

Also, please leave any of your tips in the comments Blades fans.


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