Not only is the hockey wonderful, but the ‘graphing is as well.
Took a couple of days off this week as vacation to recharge the batteries for the upcoming Cedar Rapids Kernels season and decided to actually do something by driving to Rockford on Friday night for the American Hockey League game between the Rockford Icehogs and Chicago Wolves. Rockford is an affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago an affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks.
The AHL is Triple-A hockey, if you will, with up-and-coming prospects and veteran players who have spent time (in the case of Rockford defenseman Steve Montador, lots of it) in the NHL.
The game was great, a 4-3 final that Rockford won on a short-handed goal by prospect Jeremy Morin with a little over two minutes to go. The ‘graphing also was wonderful, as you can see by the above photo.
My main target going in was Chicago forward Nicklas Jensen, a 20-year-old right winger from Denmark who just joined the Wolves. He is Vancouver’s No. 1 prospect and scored a goal in Friday night’s game.
Almost every Wolves player was wearing a wool cap on his way out to the team bus, which made identifying a little tough. I called out Jensen’s name to a guy boarding the bus that I thought was him, but he didn’t turn around, so I figured I was wrong.
The same guy came off the bus a minute later to get rid of some empty pizza boxes. The more I looked at him, the more I thought it might be Jensen.
So I scrambled for Plan B, asking him (politely, of course) to sign a blank hockey puck signature card. When I saw it was Jensen, I produced his In The Game Heroes and Prospects card that was the one I really wanted signed.
He was very hospitable, by the way.
Also was able to nab Chicago players Matt Climie (2011 Panini), Kevin Connauton (2010 Manitoba Moose team set), Darren Haydar (2004 Upper Deck MVP), Devin DiDiomete (hockey puck card), Bill Sweatt (hockey puck card) and Brad Hunt (hockey puck card). The Wolves were quick out, which allowed me to walk to the other side of the arena and 0btain signatures from Rockford players Ben Smith (2011 Upper Deck Young Guns), Dylan Olsen (2013 Pinnacle rookie), Kenndal McArdle (2010 O-Pee-Chee), Henrik Karlsson (2013 Upper Deck and 2011 Score Update Rookie) and Wade Brookbank (2011 team card set).
Forward Rob Flick signed for everyone between the second and third periods, a nice touch from the Icehogs. I had his 2012 team set card.
So all in all, a real good night. Only 12 bucks for a ticket, a terrific hockey game and lots of ‘graphs.
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