The only show in town
Wolves face do-or-die game tonight vs. Rockford
By Steve Metsch
I’m not sure what’s on your agenda tonight, but if you have nothing planned, I highly suggest heading out to Rosemont.
There at the refurbished and very fan-friendly Allstate Arena, you can watch the only pro team in Chicago’s winter lineup that still is playing. The Wolves, of the American Hockey League, are in a do-or-die game that starts at 7 p.m. vs Rockford. If the Wolves lose, they can join the Bulls and Blackhawks on local golf courses. If they win, Game Four of the best-of-five series is set for Rockford on Sunday. Win that, and it’s the series finale at 7 p.m. Monday in Rosemont.
Now there are some who may sniff and say “ah, minor league hockey, who cares?” Fine. You’re entitled to your opinion. But, speaking as someone who has attended probably 100 Wolves games since their debut season of 1994-95, I think you’d be making a big mistake. These guys could be playing for the parent club, the Las Vegas Knights, of the NHL next year. And they are pro hockey players. You know they are good at what they do.
The Wolves are a highly competitive team. They won their division this season, and are in the playoffs for the 19th time in the past 24 seasons. Tell that to the White Sox, who have not sniffed the playoffs since 2008.
The games are a lot of fun. The fast-paced game of hockey is a blast to watch. Heck, it’s the one sport my mother-in-law, 81, really enjoys because of the fast pace. She jokes that it’s not like football where a lot of talking and standing around is done. She does have a point.
Plus, the rivalry of the Wolves and Rockford is a good one. Rockford is the AHL team affiliated with the Blackhawks. You can see future Blackhawks play tonight. And since they are in the same division, let’s just say there’s always an edge to the these games. As my dad is fond of saying, “I went to the fights the other night and a hockey game broke out.” You get the idea.
Tickets are incredibly affordable. Parking is free. And they offer some concession deals. For Game One of the series on Saturday night, my wife and I both enjoyed a cheeseburger, chips and can of pop for the reasonable price of six bucks each. Try finding that deal anywhere else in the metro area. I even had a Goose Island brew for $3.
My whole family have cheered the Wolves since they started. They team has won four championships. My son and I had the pleasure of being in Rosemont when the lads won the Calder Cup in 2002 and in 2008. Crazy nights we’ll long remember. Previously, they won the Turner Cup in the old IHL in 1998 and 2000.
Maybe I’ll see you out there tonight. Look for the tall guy wearing Wolves gear – and with two weeks growth of beard – zipping around the Allstate Arena on a knee scooter. Yeah, I had foot surgery on April 9 forcing me to use the scooter to get around. It’s a bit tricky at times, but it’s not enough to keep me away from the only show in town.