Attending a hockey game in Boise isn’t the worst way to spend your Saturday night

Posted: 02/16/2014 in hockey
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Ever do something different and out of the ordinary on a Saturday night?

I sure did – I was live and in the flesh at a minor-league hockey game in Boise, Idaho on Saturday night.

The Idaho Steelheads took advantage of the big occasion by posting a 6-3 victory over the Bakersfield Condors behind three power-play goals at cozy CenturyLink Arena. William Rapuzzi scored two goals for the Steelheads and goaltender Pat Nagle made 34 saves.

Most people in the vicinity of the arena were watching a free concert by the Goo Goo Dolls on a downtown street. But I was indoors catching my second hockey game in my four-plus years of living in the fine city of Boise.

I attended three NHL games in the past six or seven years – I went to NHL games in St. Paul, Minn., (great arena) and Nashville, Tenn. (dumpy arena) while on road trips when I was covering the San Diego Chargers for a living and also caught a game in Anaheim (another good arena) – and a few things were still the same.

The players wore skates and helmets, there was a fight (not a good one so no highlights, sorry Ted Leitner) and I couldn’t tell you any of their names.

The night I hung out at the Minnesota Wild game was the first time I had ever heard of Marian Gaborik (two goals and one assist in front of me against Calgary) and everybody in the Twin Cities forgot his strong performance by the following day when Adrian Peterson set an NFL single-game rushing record against the Chargers.

So it is a bit interesting to attend a minor-league game in a sport in which I couldn’t name 10 players who play at the highest level even if you were to put a million bucks on the table and dared me. I assume there was a prospect or two on the ice as the Steelheads have a working agreement with the NHL Dallas Stars but there really wasn’t anyone who jumped out as being on a different level than the rest of the players on the ice.

And, of course, I’m not totally clueless about the sport’s nuances. I covered the minor-league San Diego Gulls when I was breaking into the business. That team was filled with former and future NHL players and set a professional hockey record for wins (62) in a season and matched the mark for most points (132).

No records appear to be on the agenda for the Steelheads but the atmosphere was nice and the fans seemed to have a good time. The venue of just over 5,000 capacity is solid – though trying to buy something on the jammed-up concourse is a bit of a pain in between periods.

I’ve covered a half-dozen or so basketball games in the building over the past few years – including an NBA exhibition game in October – and the facility is much better suited for watching people shoot pucks and commit crosschecking penalties as opposed to shooting 3-pointers and slamming home dunks.

Sure you’re all wondering when I will again return to the rink. Good question.

The only other time I attended a hockey game in Boise was during the NBA’s 2011 All-Star break. So considering this weekend was the 2014 All-Star break and I assume that means I’m scheduled to go back in 2017.

But perhaps I will target the 2015 All-Star break … after all, it never hurts to occasionally do something way, way out of the ordinary.


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