I moved to Portland 18 months ago and it has been one of the best decisions of my life. Since moving here, I have enjoyed discovering the great culture that Portland has to offer. Last weekend, I went to a Portland Winterhawks game and my experience was so great, I really wanted to write about my time there. The game was held at Veterans Memorial Coliseum, a great old arena. I was very impressed with the power plays of the Hawks, and how loud and involved the crowd was. Overall, the atmosphere was awesome, and I will be going to more games. Did you know that you could get a 12 pack of tickets for $222 dollars or less?
Veterans Memorial Coliseum is a 12,000 seat arena that serves as the primary home for the Winterhawks and was the original home of the Trail Blazers until the Rose Garden was built. It is the older of the two arenas and you can tell when you walk in. However, this arena has a lot of character. You can see the history when you walk in, as they have portraits of former NHL stars that skated here in Portland before they skated in the major league. One of the exciting events that is hosted at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum is the Daylight Classic. The arena opens up its windows on November 23rd and lets the players play with the sunshine coming though (Or the “cloud-shine” since it is Portland).
I have been a fan of hockey since I was a little boy and I grew up on the sport. I love all aspects of the game and I am continually amazed that the sport does not get the national recognition that it deserves (Well, it helps when the NHL is actually playing games. However, we will not get into that here. Maybe next week). The Winterhawks won this game and they played a great one. What I liked about the Winterhawks is that they looked for quality shots instead of quantity of shots. They had their players along the boards and were rotating from position to position trying to find the best shots they could. They were looking for the open players up on the point and even behind the net. The crispness of their passes was amazing and they did a great job at finding the open players who would take great shots. In 20 games this season, the Winterhawks have combined for 20 power play goals (PPG). An average of 1 per game is a great average. Brendan Leipsic is the leader on the team with 5 PPG so far. The Winterhawks are the defending champions of the Western Hockey League and if they keep up this pace, they will be in contention again this year.
Do you know what else helps your winning percentage? When your goalie has a 0.97 goals against average, your team is going to win. Portland is on a 12-game winning streak right now and they are 16-3-1-0 on the season. Carruth is a big part of that streak. With every big save he makes, the crowd screams out “RUUUUUTH!!!” It was a great atmosphere to be in.
I have gone to many hockey games in my life and I have seen all types of crowds. Some nights have been quiet, especially when your team is losing. I have also been at playoff games where the crowd was screaming the entire night. Going into this game, I did not know what to expect. I was very happy to see the enthusiasm of the people watching the game. From the older fans whose eyes have seen many games, to the kids who were sitting next to me, everyone was into the game. We also got wrapped up in the passion from the crowd and were standing up and cheering for the Winterhawks.
Go out to a Winterhawks game! It was a great time for the whole family.