the kick-off of the 2021-2022 hockey season
“Let’s Go, Blades! Let’s Go, Blades! Let’s Go, Blades!” Oh, how nice it is to be back in the rink! This past weekend was the first home-opening game of the Florida Everblades Hockey Team. This team has a special place in my heart, and I’ve been counting down the days for the return of hockey for months now. Hockey isn’t just an amazing sport to watch live, but it is also one of the first dates my boyfriend took me on. It was one of the first few things we bonded over – hockey, then sushi, and then classic literature.
My boyfriend and I spent the whole day thrilled for the familiar roar of the fans, and the snuggly cuddles from the bleachers. While putting on his Timesuck hockey jersey and my tall boots, I reminisced about the first game he ever took me to. I had only gone to the free-to-students Florida Gulf Coast University games before, and I’ve never gotten to see a professional NHL game. The Florida Everblades is an ECHL team, so it’s only a step or two below the NHL, making it the perfect mix of guys just happy to play the game for some extra money, the ones hoping to move into the NHL, and the guys just happy to hit some people.
The stadium was pretty full when we got there. Although we got there a few minutes after the puck-drop, fans were still piling into the arena. Buying snacks, drinks, and new gear in the new grey, green, and white colors. But as soon as we saw a “1” next to the opposite team’s logo, we started to get worried. I kept trying to tell myself that it was still the first period. We still had two more to go, and plenty of time left to make a killer comeback.
Before we knew it, the first period was over and it was time to hit the bar. The Breakaway Sports Pub is located on the second floor of Hertz Arena, and there is a sneaky walk-through from Section 104. We always sit here because of this walk-through; Avoiding the massive lines for only beer, and having all the drink options of a full bar is definitely worth the smaller seats and lack of cupholders. And, honestly, there isn’t a bad seat in the house at Hertz.
We got our drinks and sat down right in time for the second period. Time for the Blades to take charge and make their comeback! Oh, how wrong we were. As the second period came and went, we were left with a bitter taste in our mouths. And unfortunately, it only got worse.
Final score: 5-1 to the Jacksonville Icemen. Bummer for sure.
This was not a very good start to the Blades’ season. But I wasn’t as surprised as I might have been after realizing that this was essentially a whole new team. My favorite player, Sol, was gone, along with most of the other players from last season. I’m still not sure what happened to the team, but I’m hopeful for a better season moving forward. Now that the team realizes their strengths and weaknesses, we fans can only hope for more improvement.
We left and got milkshakes anyway, so, all in all, it was a great night. I swear ice cream can solve anything. As I’m getting ready to post this, they played their second game against the Norfolk Admirals with a WIN! 4:5! A very close final score, but I’m very excited to see how else they approve over the season. I’ll hopefully get to see another game here soon, and we’ll see who’ll come out on top.