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I went to my first ECHL hockey game last Friday, my first sporting event since the Thrashers season closer last April. It was a lot of fun. The Gwinnett Gladiators (2004 ECHL Central Division Champs) play in a county-owned arena. The arena is 12 years old, the team is in it's 2nd year and had a 4 game (now 6 game) winning streak going in against the Greenville Grrrowl. Parking was plentiful, and tickets were comparably cheap.

The hockey was fun but did not have the speed and finesse of an NHL game. There was a number 17, but he did not shoot like Kovulchuk. The goalies had difficulty managing rebounds on shots. A sideways glance was enough reason to drop golves (actually, that was some of the good parts). A hit against the boards was so hard a section of glass bounced out (intact) and landed on some fans. The hotdogs were foot long gourmet, the beer less expensive (but smaller), and the nachos were made with feticcini cheese. A 2-2 tie after regulation and 5 minutes overtime resulted in a 5 round shoot-out, with the Gladiators winning on the last shot.

A lot of fun, especially since I work just 10 minutes north of the arena, but it is a difficult commute for friends and family in the metro area to make their way up through rush hour traffic. I am not so desperate as to go watch games by myself, but if I can get someone to join me, I would consider another game.

Who does not currently see Dany Heatley avoiding jail time after his preliminary hearing last month...
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