Experience the drama and excitement of ice hockey on a budget by supporting your local teams. For me, my first hockey game wasn’t with the Los Angeles Kings, but with the Mentor Ice Breakers, when visiting Ohio.
I’ll start by admitting that I’ve never been a big hockey fan. Sure, I’ve watched the Olympic games and the final games when the LA Kings made their 2014 Stanley Cup run. But on your average evening, I’m not looking for game tickets or the game on TV.
Part of my reluctance with hockey is that the puck moves so quickly; it isn’t very easy for me to follow it. Live games seemed cold and expensive. So, despite there being a great NHL team here in Los Angeles, I’ve never been inclined to go. But I made a new year’s resolution this year to experience new things – not just new things in Los Angeles, but wherever we roam.
We found ourselves in Ohio visiting my dad, and there was a fair amount of snow. Every year when I return, it is a shock to my system, but the snow was quite the reminder of commutes past. And while I’m a big fan of dad’s fantastic central heating system, the wintry wonderland outside actually inspired us to do something cold. So, we checked out the relatively newly installed Mentor Ice Breakers.
How Cold Was It?
It was so cold in the Midwest when we visited that the opposing team from Michigan had to be driven down in cars because the brakes froze in the team bus. It made them an hour late for the game, but the crowd was pretty appreciative of their efforts.
I don’t remember going to the Mentor Civic Arena for hockey when I was a kid, but it may have been a thing for the school teams even back then. I do remember going there to ice skate every once in a while, but I was far better on roller skates than ice skates, so it never became a favorite pastime. The good news for Mentor (and area) residents is that the Ice Breakers are there now, and they are good!
Hockey Game Seating
We sat up in the bleachers because it is far easier for people with mobility issues to see the entire rink, and there are no stairs in the way. We had perfect front row seats, and my dad was able to use the elevator and ramps with zero fuss or difficulty. I highly recommend edging closer to the home side for a clear view of both ends. And, yes, it was cold in the arena, but since we were be-sweatered to deal with the outside weather, we weren’t put off by it.
Cost, Cards and Credit
They take credit cards at ticketing ($13 for general and $10 for seniors), but not at the concession stand, so keep that in mind if the nosh sounds tempting. Andy had an Italian sausage there that he gave big thumbs up to, so you may want to try it. The day we went was one of their special Family Days, that included games during the breaks between periods. Looks like the kids were having a blast!
Hockey Game Impressions
Now, for the action – it is still really fast. In fact, I had no idea how fast this game would be. The Mentor Ice Breakers are part of the Federal Prospects Hockey League, and these guys were giving it their all. Not only was it surprisingly fast, but it was rougher than I thought it would be. I can’t say that I understand the rules. For instance, why isn’t shoving a guy face-first into the ice a penalty, but tripping is? Even without the understanding of the nuances of strategy and penalties, I have to say it was exciting. And they won the game – double bonus points!
Where Else You Can See The Ice Breakers
We were so inspired that we have subscribed to their YouTube channel so that we can catch bits of the game from LA.
So, my first foray into something completely new was a total success. My dad and his friends seemed to really enjoy it, as well. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even be inspired to see a game in Los Angeles. It could happen!
How about you? Did you have “try something new” on your list of new year’s resolutions or someday goals?