Sometimes, I think it’s nice to take a step back and remember why I’m a hockey fan, and more specifically, why I appreciate the Checkers organization as much as I do.
I had the opportunity to do that last week. My niece and nephew live in the mountains, and know I love hockey, but had never gotten to see a game live before, so for my oldest nephew’s seventh birthday, I arranged for them to spend the weekend in Charlotte. We all spent a day at the Great Wolf Lodge playing in the waterpark (and what a GREAT time it was!) and then headed to a Checkers game. Having kids around made me a lot less tempted to cuss when the Checkers lost, and I was less annoyed than usual at the terrible music played following goals scored against the Checkers.
So, without further adieu, a few things I noticed when surrounded by a five and seven year old at their first hockey game.
Chubby is AWESOME
- The Checkers mascot is probably the best part of a game in a child’s eyes. Having been to three other arenas in our division in the past month, I think I can say (with some bias, I suppose) that Chubby is one of the best mascots in the league. He’s constantly in the seating bowl, and while I at times am annoyed when he gets in my way, seeing the reaction from my nephew and niece made me realize what’s really important, and that’s the simple fact that Chubby is AWESOME.
- My nephew Keaton probably couldn’t tell you much about the game (and doesn’t even care the Checkers lost), but he’s told EVERYONE about how Chubby rode a FOUR WHEELER on the ice, and Chubby has his own jersey, and Chubby went “fishing” with a spider on the end of a fishing pole in the stands. They don’t really care who Brett Sutter or Zac Dalpe is, but they know the mascot’s name!
- The money I spent on a small Chubby Bear stuffed animal was a great buy. Keaton called me on the phone to tell me “I sleep with Chubby every night”… uh… remember, he’s seven… and I’m not allowed to giggle inappropriately at that statement.
Bloody jerseys and missing teeth are COOL:
- Keaton and Nola were fascinated by the blood stains on my game-worn Michal Jordan jersey. They thought it was equally gross and cool. They also wanted to know what other players were on the ice and represented by the jerseys their parents and I were wearing.
- A lot of hockey players are missing some of their front teeth, just like my nephew. Unfortunately, the tooth fairy doesn’t visit the players when they lose teeth (if so, I think Zach Boychuk would have had a lot of visits this year. I wonder if there’s a lifetime maximum on tooth fairy visits though? If so, I’d guess Nic Blanchard has reached it.)
Keep it Simple hockey rules:
- The home white jerseys are the “good guys” and the red team are the bad guys.
- If you do something bad, you go to the penalty box, which is kind of like time out, but only for two minutes.
- If you do something REALLY bad, like “talk back to the referee” you get an extra 10 minutes in time out, which is kind of like talking back to your mom