One of my New Year’s resolutions was to attend a couple of minor league hockey games. Those who have followed me from WishesNetwork know that I’m from Detroit. We still have the Detroit Red Wings, who won the Stanley Cup in 1997, 1998, 2002, and 2008. I was a big fan of the Red Wings during my teenage years and early adult years. I fell away from the Red Wings after Nick Lidstrom retired. You can’t expect Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov, Darren McCarty, and a few others to play until the end of time. As of this blog posting, the Red Wings are dead last in the NHL.
When it came to minor leagues, we had the Detroit Vipers of the now-defunct IHL or International Hockey League. When they came to town, they said record attendance, and we’re competitive. They won the Turner Cup in 1997, just a few days before the Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup. The Vipers went goodbye in 2001, and so did the international hockey league, a double bummer. In 2007, the United Hockey League or Uhl did a revamp and name themselves that IHL. In fact, the “new” IHL had its headquarters in Rochester, Michigan. The “new” IHL didn’t last long; it went bye-bye in 2010. Detroit had a UHL team in the mid-2000s called the Motor City Mechanics, and they got some Fame when Chris Chelios and Darien Hatcher, and a couple of other Red Wing players participated in a few of their home games. It was also on a documentary featuring the now-defunct Roanoke IceHogs.
Recently in 2017, the Federal Hockey League started a team called the St Clair Shores Fighting Saints. I attended a couple of games. They played their home games at the St. Clair Shores Ice Arena. The Fighting Saints did poorly, and they were in last place in the 2016-2017 FHL season. The next year, they became North Shore Knights, where the team folded before the season was finished.
For Detroiters who enjoy minor league hockey, one would have to travel about 40 miles Northeast to the historic small city of Port Huron. And the early 60s, Port Huron built its own small Arena and has hosted a hockey team pretty much since 1962. But for the most part, besides the Port Huron Flags (1962-1981), hockey franchises don’t stay long in that city. However, they seem to keep one there each year. From 2015 to 2020, the FPHL (formerly known as the FHL) has the Port Huron Prowlers. Ever since its foundation in 2015, the Prowlers have had winning seasons ever since. I also saw the Prowlers when they beat the Fighting Saints big time. The Prowlers also picked up a couple of Ex- Fighting Saints, such as Zack Zulkanycz and Johnathan Juliano.
For this game on 17 January 2020, I decided to do a little tour of Port Huron first, and I went to a bar called Tio Gordos to have some hard cider in a shot of Jose Cuervo. I walked to McMorran Arena with my printed ticket I bought via Ticketmaster for $16. Later, to arrive and see, I could have bought one for $11 at the box office.
This one is for me:
Before they allowed us in, I talked to some of the fans and discussed minor league hockey and how the whole system works. It led to a discussion with somebody there saying that the OHL is higher than the ECHL. I have always known that the OHL is a Junior League, and later research concluded that to be true. Plus, I didn’t want to argue; I have noticed lately with people and which side you lean on in politics, people are so hell-bent on being right. The Prowlers were hosting the lowly Battle Creek Rumble Bees, who at the time were 1-28. According to a few folks, the franchise and team were put together within a couple of months.
McMorran Arena’s seats weren’t comfortable for my thirty-seven-year-old ass and back, but I wasn’t expecting comfortable seats anyway. I think the arena has the same seats since 1962. The first period started with the Rumble bees taking a 2-0 lead, but the Prowlers were able to tie it up by the end of the first.
After 1 period of play we are all tied up at 2-2 in Port Huron pic.twitter.com/zCoAY3DqQY
— Battle Creek Rumble Bees 🐝 (@BCRumbleBees) January 19, 2020
The Prowlers have quite an interesting player on their team by the name of Joe Pace Jr. Pace junior is not only a defenseman, but he’s also the coach and the GM of the team. His father, Joe Pace Senior, was previously the head coach and GM. Senior was behind the bench when I saw the Prowlers as visitors when attending the second and Final Fighting Saints game. He got angry about a call in that game and started cussing at the refs. Apparently, he later found something better with a Prowlers competitor, and he’s behind the bench for them.
The second period was a little more exciting as the Prowlers scored 7 goals in the second, taking a commanding 9-2 lead. Some folks in the crowd behind the Battle Creek goalie begin to sass him a little. The third period wasn’t So exciting in the goal-scoring category, but I had around the 12-minute mark; one of the Prowler players, Tyler Becker, went to the Battle Creek bench and cussed a few players out. Some later research led me to his hockey database profile; he had played for the Rumble Bees until he eventually made it to the Port Huron side. I suppose someone he didn’t get along with pissed him off earlier, and he wanted revenge.
The game’s first star was Austin Fetterly, who got a hat-trick. It was also his late father’s birthday, so that was a good moment for him. After the game was over, I felt a little sorry for the Battle Creek Rumble Bees. It’s kind of crappy to take the long trip to the arena, ending with you getting your ass kicked and handed it to you, then taking a long bus ride home. According to one of the folks I was talking to before the game started, the Prowlers owner also owns the Rumble Bees and is committed to keeping them around. Hopefully, things improve with the Rumble Bees.
Also, roller hockey is coming to Port Huron. I definitely want to check that out. Before walking into the arena, I saw a flyer with Fleetwood Mac and bright letters. I thought to myself in disbelief, Fleetwood Mac is coming here? I got closer to the flyer, and it said a Fleetwood Mac tribute band. Wow!