Friday, January 28, 2011

A Taste of the Chicago Wolves

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Cross-posted at The Chicago Moms.

In a family where we have more mathletes than athletes and the Olympic heroes are not gymnasts, but scientists, professional sporting events don't rank high on our to-do list, especially when we look at the cost of taking a family of four to a professional sporting event.

Talk about sticker shock.

(Yeah, Chicago museums, I'm lookin' at you, too.)

That's why we're fans of minor league sports. Or at least fans of the cost of minor league sporting events.

We've enjoyed watching the Kane County Cougars, the Schaumburg Flyers, and though not a minor league, the Chicago Sky, our WNBA team.

These sporting events are not only budget friendly, but family friendly as well.

We recently added one more team to the list when we were invited to watch a Chicago Wolves hockey game. When I say we had a taste of this hockey team, I mean it.

We started off with a hot pretzel prior to the game as we walked around the stadium. I haven't been in the Allstate Arena in years (decades!) and I was impressed by how relatively cozy it seemed. Not a bad seat in the house. (Note to self: go to a concert there one of these days.) There were games for the kids, live dogs up for adoption hoping to find forever homes (most of them did before the night was over) as well as various happenings on the ice.

We grabbed some Dippin Dots for the boys before we settled in our seats to watch the pee-in-your pants pre-game fireworks. If you have children who freak out at loud noises, maybe you shouldn't arrive until the first quarter period is under way. But if you don't need to leave the room for a loud boom, the indoor fireworks display and shooting flames are something to behold.

The second period brought sticky blue cotton candy and some hockey action, including a scuffle on the ice. Even that was much tamer than I recall from a 1980s Chicago Blackhawks game with the crowd back then (and still today?) yelling "Fight! Fight!" As the players were thrown off the ice, I considered how I might use such a tactic as a discipline strategy for my tween boys.

After the second period we, and other bloggers at the game, were treated to cookies emblazoned with the likeness of Skates, the team mascot, who is at once both fierce and cuddly, as well as a meet and greet with one of the team members.

We never did make it to the popcorn, but our bellies were full and our sugar buzz rocking by the time we headed home.

As I said, we're not that into sporting events, but we are into giving our boys a wide range of experiences. If I had realized our family of four could attend a hockey game, eat, drink and pay for parking for less than $100, we probably would gone to a Wolves game* a long time ago.

But those people paying $800 to see the Chicago Bears? I'll never be a part of that crowd.

* I sense some irony as I read over my words because I'm aware that our local libraries have long taken part in the Wolves' Read to Succeed program, but my boys, obsessive readers both, have never signed up for the club. They probably could have won free tickets ten times over by this point. D'oh!

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