Say you find yourself on vacation in Portland, Oregon. Your NHL team is driving you batty, but you need a hockey fix. What do you do?
Why, you go to see the Portland Winter Hawks of course!
I find the system of minor league hockey pretty confusing. I don’t get it at all, and frankly, I have very little desire to figure it out. All I know is that there are a bunch of unaffiliated hockey teams tucked in various corners of North America. The Portland Winter Hawks are one of these teams. Whatevs.
Today I rounded up four (4) non-hockey fans and a toddler, and the six of us headed out to see the Hawks play the Silvertips.
I’m not going to sugar coat this: to my fairly untrained eye, the Hawks do not appear to be very good at hockey. To be fair, I have never seen non-NHL hockey, so to me the whole thing looked kind of Bad News Bearsy. Also, my ability to turn the home team into an ineffectual mess with my mere presence at the arena seems to extend beyond the NHL and into the minor league systems.
This was the situation when we had to leave the arena due to a toddler meltdown:
I tried to comfort the Winter Hawks by telling them that the Sabres can’t score when I’m around either, but I don’t think they bought it.
Speaking of Sabres, did you know that Goose was a Winter Hawk back when he was a zygote? I found this giant portrait of a younger, more innocent Goose hanging in the “Winter Hawks in the NHL” display.
Look! It’s baby-faced Nolan Pratt! I don’t spend nearly enough time yammering about how much I like Nolan Pratt on this blog. I promise to do better.
My only real beef with the Winter Hawks is that their logo is a Chicago Blackhawks-style Indian. I’m just not into marginally racist logos, and so I couldn’t bring myself to buy a hat, which I certainly would have done otherwise. (I just looked it up, and the Winter Hawks’ logo is the exact same logo as the Blackhawks’ logo. What gives, Winter Hawks? You can’t even be bothered to come up with your own racist logo? LAME.)
The best thing about the Winter Hawks game was that I could not have possibly cared less about the outcome. Yeah, I was cheering for Portland, but it didn’t bother me in the slightest when they didn’t win. It was pretty enjoyable to watch a live hockey game in which I didn’t feel the urge to leap off a balcony in despair. Instead of feeling all angsty about the game, I merrily ate delicious hotdogs and observed the local diehards. (FYI, local Winter Hawk diehards = awesome.)
All in all, I can recommend the folksy and affordable Winter Hawks experience. Some hockey is better than no hockey, so if I lived in Portland I would happily attend Hawks’ games. Go Hawks!