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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Night out in Hockeytown

Getting There

Last Friday I had the day off and decided that since I had not been to a Detroit Red Wings hockey game I better go.  So I called up some friends that live in Kalamazoo and one that lives in downtown Detroit and we decided Friday is the night to go.  They play the LA Kings at home and there are still tickets available. 
For $30 each we get standing room only tickets.  Which at first I thought might suck because you have to stand the whole game.  But actually they turned out to be quite good.

First, I suggest that if you go to a Red Wings game you park at the Greektown Casino garage on Monroe.  It's free and it's not very far from Joe Louis Arena.

There I met my friend who lives in downtown Detroit.  He had a going away party to go to later that night and he wasn't feeling good but still made it out... that's how good the wings are and how appreciated they are in this town.

We walked to the people mover station that would take us to the arena.  Now the people mover is an old rail system that travels above downtown Detroit.  I don't think a ton of people outside of Michigan or even Detroit know that Detroit has this mass transit system, but it works and its nostalgic.  

The people mover drops us off at the Joe Louis Arena and we meet our other friends at the Gordie Howe entrance, which, according to one of my kzoo friends is the ONLY entrance.  When we get in we immediately enter the arena and stake out a spot to stand.  Now viewing from the standing room only section is an art.  First, there are areas that you are not allowed to stand in.  They have a bold "NO STANDING" stenciled on the wall.  The areas where "STANDING" is allowed also have a small red line that marks out about one foot from the wall where you may stand.  

Getting there early and getting a spot against the wall is key.  Then you also must have a number of people willing to wait while you go get their beer so no other passing standers take your spot.  Fortunately this only happened once and it wasn't that big of a deal.

Beer Run

So the first beer run was the only one worth writing about.  There are three of us in line and we're getting 5 beers (Molson Canadian is the beer of the wings by the way).  My two friends in front of me get their beers and then it's my turn...  Then out of nowhere this Canadian guy and his 3 buddies barge right in front of me and get served.  They order 4 shots of Jim Beam at $6.25 each.

Okay, no big deal now it's my turn right?  Wrong

They then decide they need 4 beers too each at $8.75.  Of course they try to get a discount by telling the lady that their dad works for Ford and is going through a tough time.  The bartendress looks at them in disgust and squashes the discount.  Now I understand that this is my first time at a wings game but seriously I didn't realize that I was a rookie at drinking with Canadians around too.

So finally I get my beer.

The Ushers

During the game there are these ushers that make sure people find their seat, but they also prevent fans from taking their seats while the puck is in play.  I did not know that you must wait for a face-off to take your seat.  We also learned, from talking with one of the ushers, that you get paid to usher, which means you get paid to go to wings games (sweet).  And you get a limited edition Red Wings usher's jacket.  This is something I will look into.

The friendly usher was also very knowledgeable about which players families were in the stands, where they sat, and how hot each player's girlfriend is (cool, but also a little weird and scary).  

The wings won the game 2-1, the first start for Osgood in ten days, and the fans went wild when Ozzie came out for his curtain call.

Larry Murphy

After the game we started to walk out of the arena and into the concessions area when one of my friends who is a girl says that we have to go find "Larry."  The Larry that she is referring to is one Larry Murphy.  Murphy... or Larry as she refers to him because they are on a flirts name basis, played for the wings from 1996 - 2001 and was a part of two of the Stanley Cup teams.  These days Murphy does some wings commentating alongside Mickey York for FS Detroit.

I was unaware of her love for Larry.

After the game she spots Larry climbing the stairs to their desk and starts screaming his name.  "LAAAAARRRRYYYY!"  Pretty soon Murphy is cracking up so bad he has to turn around and acknowledge that she is in love with him.  He smiles and waves and now she is in heaven. So we all start chanting "Larry, Larry, Larry."  Through his whole broadcast.  I am sure he loved it.

After he was done alongside Mickey York he gets up and again she yells, "I LOOOOVE YOU LAAAARRRRY."  He waves and smiles again.  Needless to say she made his night.


The night ended with my Detroit friend and I walking about 6 blocks back to the casino in sub zero temperatures, then me having to go to the bathroom, then the elevators to be locked because some idiot pulled the fire alarm, and me having to climb 12 flights of stairs to the top deck of the casino parking lot.

But it was worth it!

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