icehogs

Lockout Insurance – Frozen Piggies

Well, we come to it. Your other AHL option in the “area”, but the one that will probably interest you most. There are many benefits to the Hogs, and one crucial drawback. But we’ll focus on them here.

Venue: The Metro Center, or I guess now it’s called the BMO Harris Bank Center. Which only makes me want to call it the BM Center, and I think that’s pretty apt because it’s in Rockford. But anyway, people who have been there (namely Chris Block) say it’s a pretty cool place to see a game because it’s small. That makes the atmosphere a little more tense and the sightlines great. So there’s that. It’ll be a much more intimate setting than the airplane hangar the UC can feel like at times.

Getting there? Well, not quite as many options as the Horizon. You’re driving it, which means you’re dealing with 65 miles on  I-90, which means you get to brave the Kennedy right after rush-hour if you’re going on a weekday. It’s just far enough to be considered annoying to do regularly. But if  you like going to Milwaukee for Brewers games, then this is a shorter trip with less big-city hassle once you get there. Should be a smoother trip on weekends though.

Tickets: Ok, here’s the big attraction. There isn’t a ticket in the house that will cost you more than $27. Seriously, $27 gets you like, on the glass. If you want to be in the upper tank as that’s where  you’re accustomed to being among your fellow unwashed and blog writers (Hey buddy!), they’re all around $15. You can’t really beat it, and probably cancels out what you just blew in gas getting out there. However, as we’ve said it’s tiny, only holding somewhere around 10k and probably less for hockey. If loads of Western Suburban Hawks fans make the trip one night on a weekend, suddenly tickets might not be as available as we’d like. But that’s a long shot.

Recognizable Players: This is probably the other big attraction for our kind. You’ll know almost the entire team. Just players that got NHL time last year is a pretty impressive list as it encompasses Leddy, Kruger, Olsen, Saad, Hayes, Smith, Shaw, Pirri, and Morin. There are a couple other intriguing prospects here as well in ol’ Rocks In My Head Kyle Beach, the seemingly now stalled Shawn Lalonde (who was going to be Nick Leddy before Nick Leddy), and the new Lalonde/Leddy Adam Clendenning. Joe Lavin is also here, and some people are still high on him. And the perpetual not-quite-there-yet Ryan Stanton is going to captain this team. And who doesn’t want to watch Brett Lebda struggle to breathe?

Basically, you’ll have seen or at least heard about every player on the roster. And while it won’t be the unholy-for-AHL talent that Oklahoma City or Charlotte or Houston will be rolling out until the lockout ends, I feel like Rockford has suck in under the radar on how much fun they could be during this dark period. That is if Shaw, Hayes, and Leddy are interested and motivated.

Hogs Fans: Can’t say. Never met one. Most of the people I know who go to Hogs’ games are Hawks fans wanting to scout the kids or Hawks fans who can’t get or afford Hawks’ tickets regularly and want to see some live hockey with a couple players they recognize or will in the future. Feel free to share your thoughts on Hogs fans in the comments. From what I hear, they couldn’t be worse than Wolves fans.

Insurance Grade: B+ There are a lot of Hawks here, or there will be whenever this silliness ends, so the quality won’t be a huge drop from what you’re used to. The tickets are cheap and the building fun. The team could be a lot of fun to watch. But you still have to drive to and spend time in Rockford, and there’s no way to dress that up.

 

  • http://twitter.com/AndrewCieslak Andrew Cieslak

    I really want to try and convince the family to go to a Rockford game. Mini road trip plus cheap tickets and the chance to see baby Hawks makes it for me. I just have to, ya know, plan it – which isn’t exactly my strong suit.

  • boldmatter

    I agree about the closeness and how easy it is too see. No matter where my seats are (and I’ve bought tickets right on the glass and some further back), I always had a really great view of the ice. I’m hoping to get out to Rockford a couple of times this year, though it will have to wait for the weekend, since it’s not convenient otherwise (I live in the city). I might just end up going to some Wolves games and cheering against the Wolves like usual.

    Hogs fans are okay, they’ve got some embarrassing traditions, which are mostly just the type of thing that’s common in AHL games in general. They do a weird dance whenever the Hogs score and there’s also some weird call and response announcements but nothing too terrible.

  • Kevin Barnacle

    Went to two games last season, the atmosphere is just as great as a Blackhawks game. It is basically your mini UC Madhouse in a small American city. I live in the West burbs, and the hour and half drive is not bad at all. It sure beats driving the Eisenhower in rush hour for a game. There is an awesome multilevel balcony where the Hogs shoot twice I believe where you are literally on top of the action. You’ll probably have the stand since there are a few tables and chairs along the fence, but it is still a pretty cool area to watch the game above.

    The die hard fans I believe yell “Sucks” when an opposing player is introduced just like at a Blackhawks game. The food is just average like it is at the UC along with the price of it as well. Cheap tickets for good seats, take advantage.

  • adelfiacco10

    Ways to get your hockey fix…

    A. Tune in for another “KHL on ESPN2″ abortion called by Mouth-breather 1 and Mouth-breather 2
    B. Be surrounded by uppity Wolves fans and their future Canucks
    C. Good, cheap seats to watch Hawks prospects in the company of your fellow Hawks fans
    D. All of the above (but seriously, that includes baby Nucks and Barry Melrose)

    This is a no-brainer.

  • FakeASeizure

    I took my wife and my dad to a Hogs game against the Wolves last year. Aside from mostly getting smeared by the mini-nucks, it was a really enjoyable experience. I didn’t notice any strange smells coming from the 12th row and nobody asked if I had any hash while I was in the bathroom, so I guess it was a success.

  • ahnfire

    I noticed that Ben Smith is wearing an A for the team (or he was during preseason) – does anyone know who the other A is? Is it Lebda? (ahahaha….wait, is it?)

    • ahnfire

      nevermind, I found out that the As were rotating during the preseason. Also, Kim Wrona at Runs on Duncan has a pretty descriptive write up of the Hogs pre-season, if anyone is interested. http://aeryssports.com/runs-on-duncan/icehogs-tuesday-the-preseason-comes-to-a-close/

      • Z-man19

        Gee thanks super mod :P

        • ahnfire

          you’re welcome, petulant commenting peon :D

          sidenote: Lebda did wear the A for one of the games. (ahahaha)

          • Z-man19

            Petulant? I won’t argue peon but I’m not petulant damn it!!

      • girlphoenix

        Another thing, her play by play tweets are pretty good. Much more informative than the official Hogs twitter.

  • Battery

    I’ll give you guys a crash course on the icehogs.

    Around the arena there are 2 parking garages around the building, I believe they are charging $7 this season for parking. One parking garage connects directly to the arena via a walkway over the street. This is definitely the one you want to park in if you have your tickets in hand. If you have your tickets they will let you inside on the second story of the building right on the other side of the walkway, If you need to buy tickets or have to pick some up you’ll have to walk down the steps (outside) and around the other side of the building to the box office.

    Once inside you get to take the nifty escalators up to the ice level. You’ll be dropped off in the main “food court” area. This is where you should register for any promotions, drawings, buy your chuck a pucks for the second intermission and whatever.

    Looking at the arena and seating. Behind the goal that the hogs shoot at twice there are seats. On the other end is the Dental Dementions Lounge. If you ever get a chance to get tickets down there, it’s pretty sweet, you get a private elevator to get to the glass, a private bar comfy seating, and lots of room. The downside is you’re kind of isolated from the rest of the crowd. Worth it however.

    On Wed and Tuesday games, they have dollar days, which means that for a dollar you can get:
    a super small 8oz soda
    a hot dog
    a ($7-8 face value) 300 level ticket to give to someone to bribe them to be your designated driver.
    BEER. (usually like bud or bud select or something equally meh, but it’s a dollar and you’re watching hockey. And at this price, you could probably afford a taxi back to chicago compared to what it would cost at the UC to get this drunk.
    (IMPORTANT NOTE FOR THE $1 DRINKERS!! THEY STOP SERVING THE $1 BEERS AT THE END OF THE 1st INTERMISSION! LAME! AND YOU CAN ONLY BUY 2 AT A TIME. Solution: Everyone in the group goes and buys 2 beers, return to seats, drop off beers (This is difficult because not everyone in your party will arrive at the seats with the 2 beers they departed the beer stand with.
    Return to the beer stand for bonus beers, rinse, repeat. Stock up enough to have enough brews for the 2nd and 3rd. Note, the $1 beers are only sold from beer stand that will be setup outside the ice hog gift shop (Not the table selling shirts and jerseys, an actual store inside the arena, with glass doors like a mall. Walk around the concourse. One lap and you’ll find it, it’s a small place. If you miss it maybe you don’t need the $1 beers anyways.

    For bonus points go to a regular concession stand and get a paper drink carrier to transport ever more beers and avoid alcohol abuse (spillage).

    Ok. So about the hockey.

    Hockey in Rockford started with the UHL era, which was brash, and well we liked to drink then too. So we kinda sorta carried over our traditions to the AHL level. (But man did we go out with a bang that last UHL season!)

    Remember this is AHL level hockey and yes we are immature.

    Even though we are Hawks affiliates, we don’t applaud the anthem. There are hawks fans every game that try, but don’t usually get far, I think the general opinion is that it’s something special that deserves to be kept sacred in the UC.

    We yell “sucks” after each opposing player is introduced, WHETHER THEY ACTUALLY SUCK OR NOT.

    This is our goal song:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeiEWxKoTk8

    When we score, we play Billy Idol and change the lyrics at the next stoppage:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgXAXsoUINI&feature=related

    During the second intermission we throw nerf pucks at targets on the ice to win prizes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTN1tIiRKC0

    The penalty boxes are on the same side as the benches. Which can always be fun.

    Parking is usually a breeze when leaving, very rarely will it be hard to get out of the garages. I’ve never spent more then 20 minutes locked in the garages, and that was deep on playoff nights.

    The hosts you will hear on the mics running the on ice promos and in the stands doing the scoreboard trivia and whatnot are Stone and double T. Who host a morning show on the local rock station in Rockford, actually know a ton about hockey.

    A final note: the 100 level tickets have padded seats and the 200 and up are all plastic. (Something to consider)

    Overall you can’t go wrong. Tickets are typically always be available the day of the game, unless there is a big promotion (player signing, stanley cup appearance, etc) however, with the lockout this might change.

    I would hope you guys would make the extra 45-60 minute drive at least once this season and see the icehogs in Rockford and not just in Rosemont.

    It’s a pretty awesome place to catch a game.

    • girlphoenix

      this sounds so great. why do i have to live over 1,000 miles away? (((

    • ahnfire

      “hey guess what your goalie sucks”? AHAHAHAHAHA I LOVE IT.

      I am a child. :D

  • InkedGeek

    Hey, I grew up in Rockford, and all the jokes you’re making about it are painting it in way too good a light…

    In addition to the parking garages Battery mentioned, there’s plenty of
    street parking if you don’t mind walking a couple blocks, as downtown
    Rockford is traditionally deserted by 5:30.

    And if you’re going to go, I have to recommend a Hogs v Admirals tilt.
    Not only are the two teams close enough to be regional rivals, but the
    latter is the affiliate of Nashville, so you can kind of still get a
    mini West-Central divisional battle out of it too.

    Oh, and get to town early and eat at a Beef-a-Roo. The name’s odd, but
    aside from the occasional Hogs game, it’s pretty much the only reason I
    make trips back to RKFD from Madison.