Archive for the ‘sports’ Category

Predators make home debut in Kent

Last Friday I went to my first Kent Predators home game which was everyone’s first Predators home game since it was their first ever. The Predators, a new team in the IFL made their home debut in their third-ever game on Friday, March 12, at the ShoWare Center in Kent.

As is true of any new team, the Predators have some kinks to work out as they learn to play together as a team. They were more than just a bit wobbly in the first two quarters of the game, heading into halftime with a mere 13 points to the Fairbanks Grizzlies’ 38. Ouch! After the break the Predators came out strong, however, and hit a scoring groove. Unfortunately, it still wasn’t enough to earn them their first-ever win, but the 57-42 final score wasn’t too shabby.

Obviously there are differences between indoor football and the outdoor version we know so well – the field is much smaller, for one thing–but but it’s played in a similar enough fashion that anyone with a general understanding of football can follow along without difficulty. It’s fun, too; I’m not the biggest football fan there ever was, but I genuinely enjoyed the game and all around me people were having a really good time.

There are some cool and unique aspects to seeing the Predators, too. For one thing, while there’s not a bad seat in the house, fans who really want to get into the action can head down to the open-area end zone and stand at the half walls literally inches from the action. Sometimes even less than inches as the ball flies off the field or a player crashes into or over the wall.

Watching the game close enough to hear the players’ breathe definitely gives you an interesting perspective on it–as a well-seasoned hockey fan, I don’t blink, let alone flinch, at a puck even heading directly at me, but when these guys came running down the field, I couldn’t help but take a step back. After all, they have pads – I don’t.

Another thing that I thought was cool is the way the goal posts are suspended from the ceiling without a net behind them. When the ball gets kicked into the stands, the lucky fan who gets their hand on it gets to take it home with them as a souvenir.

Their next home game is a while off yet – Friday, April 9 – but I’m already looking forward to it. They’ll have had another game in by then (on the road versus Tri Cities) and should be even more competitive. For more information on the team and to buy tickets, check out their website.

Nuclear Cowboyz light up the Tacoma Dome

Geoff Aaron flies above the flames

While I’m not much of a risk taker myself, I have to admit there’s something cool about seeing someone else willingly choose to risk life and limb. Freestyle motocross is a great example of something you wouldn’t catch me doing, ever, but I find compelling to watch. Nuclear Cowboyz is a new theatrical style motocross show featuring some of the world’s top riders and it’s coming to the Tacoma Dome next week. Legends of freestyle motocross – guys like Adam Jones, Mike Mason, Nate Adams, Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg, Ronnie Faisst, Todd Potter, Beau Bamburg, Jim McNeil, Dustin Miller, Matt Buyten, Brian Foster, Jimmie McGuire, Jimmy Fitzpatrick, Taka Higashino and Derek Garland – will synchronize complex stunts and go for broke in an attempt to break some world records that hopefully won’t see them breaking any bones.

Also on the menu: a special appearance by Derek Guetter presenting an extraordinary back-flipping quad, dancers, loud rock music, pyrotechnics and all kinds of spectacle.

You’ve got two chances to see this jaw-dropping extravaganza – March 19 and March 20. Both shows are at 7:30 pm at the Tacoma Dome.

Since this show has a big enough carbon footprint on its own, if you’re heading down from Seattle, why not offset it a bit by taking the bus? Sound Transit’s route 594 travels between downtown Seattle and the Tacoma Dome station every half hour until the last bus from Tacoma at 10:18 pm.

Thunderbirds close out season at home

Seattle Thunderbirds goalie Calvin Pickard stops a shot by the Portland Winterhawks

The Seattle Thunderbirds finish the 2009 – 2010 season with a pair of games at home at the ShoWare Center.

Saturday at 7:05 pm, the Birds take their arch-rivals, the Portland Winterhawks in a game guaranteed to be exciting. The Hawks are battling for playoff positioning but the Birds are playing for pride. Their last match up was a thriller of a game, with strong, physical play from both sides that led to a tie lasting through overtime into a shootout win by Portland.

Fan Appreciation Day is the theme Sunday when the Birds play their final game of the season versus the Vancouver Giants at 5:05 pm. The Tbirds will be giving out a number of prizes to fans in attendance courtesy of their sponsors, including a 42” flat screen Samsung TV,
$75 Gift Certificate to Salty’s Restaurant, a one hour massage, team autographed merchandise and gift certificates from sponsors including Ivar’s, U-frame it, Central Ave. Pub, the Sportspage, Grape Adventure, and Ram Big Horn Brewery.

Predators prowl Kent first time ever Friday night

The Kent Predators are a new member of the 25 team Indoor Football League, the nation’s largest professional indoor league. The IFL’s coverage spans the entire US from Anchorage to DC; the Predators are part of the Pacific North Division which includes the Billings Outlaws (Billings, Montana), Tri-Cities Fever (Tri-Cities, WA), Fairbanks Grizzlies (Fairbanks, Alaska), and the Alaska Wild (Anchorage, Alaska).

The Predators kick off their very first home game ever Friday night at the ShoWare Center in Kent, taking on the Fairbanks Grizzlies. After taking losses in their first two road games (against IFL champions Billings Outlaws and the Alaska Wild), the Preds are on the hunt for a victory at home, but the Grizzlies will be hoping the chew them up. It’s bound to be an exciting match as both teams struggle for a mark in the W column.

Game time is 7:30 but the party starts two hours earlier at 5:30 with a a youth football clinic for kida sges 6-14 who purchase a ticket to the game where they can get real hands on learning from Predators players and staff. Pregame festivities include the introduction of the Predators’ dance team via an exhilirating Harley Davidson entrance to coincide with player introductions.

Local music group Dave Cassel Band will perform at halftime and through the entire evening there will be plenty of prizes, giveaways, and on field contest. An interactive zone provided by Games2U and Clowns Unlimited will be open for the whole game time.

After the game, fans are encouraged to stick around for autographs and photos of the Predators.

Tickets are available for as little as $14.50 each by calling the Predators ticket office at 253-239-3254 or purchasing them through their website. If you want the full meal deal, season tickets are still available, too, ranging from a mere $96 to a mere $252.

Thunderbirds vs Winterhawks: A Recap In Photos

The Seattle Thunderbirds met with the Portland Winterhawks at the ShoWare Center in Kent this weekend. While most games at the new facility have been mostly full, it could have been the 2010 Hockey Challenge that made the building electric. Or perhaps people had Olympic hockey fever and decided to catch a local game for around $25 instead of paying almost 500 times more for a ticket to Sunday’s gold medal game. Either way, Saturday night was a packed, fun-filled night of hockey.

Seattle has not had the best season this year, but played a really close game with Portland. The game went into an overtime shootout, which Portland won on their last shot. A heart-breaker of a game for any Thunderbirds fan.

I had a great time shooting some picture of the game, both on the ice and off. You can see some of my favorites after the jump, or visit my whole set on Flickr.

A Thunderbirds game is a great way to spend an evening. And I would even say the drive to Kent is worth the fact that you don’t have to watch a game in a half-empty Key Arena. Do IT!


2010 Hockey Challenge featuring former Mariner Dan Wilson Saturday

The Seattle Thunderbirds haven’t been having the greatest season ever this year, but as a diehard fan that hasn’t stopped me from going to every game. Hockey’s fun whether you’re cheering on the champion or the underdog and I have a good time every time. Part of what makes the experience so great is the enthusiasm of the crowd; in my perfect world, every game would be a total sell out. But to learn just how great hockey truly is, you’ve got to get to a game. This Saturday there’s a reason for even the most casual fan to head down to the ShoWare Center, the 2010 Hockey Challenge.

The day begins at 9:40 am with a series of games between sponsor groups that have raised money to participate. This year it’s the Amazon Women v. the Microsoft Exchange Women, the Microsoft Spartans v., MS Entertainment & Devices v. Microsoft Mystery Team and Windows Live v. MS IT. From years of experience I can attest that these techie people are pretty solid hockey players; these aren’t pro quality players but their games are exciting and well-played. All of their donations–over $3.5 million over the past eleven years–go to help the Ronald McDonald House serve their mission to provide a home away from home for seriously ill children undergoing medical treatment and their families. Last year the Seattle Ronald McDonald House provided some much needed support for 700 families.

At 5pm there’s a celebrity autograph session with some of the players for the evening’s All Star game; this year’s All Stars include Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville), Jason Thompson (General Hospital), Brian Basset (cartoonist of “Adam @ Home” and “Red and Rover”), Kelly Tysland (formerly Kelly Stephens 2006 U.S. Women’s Olympic hockey bronze medalist), Bill Wixey (KCPQ news anchor), Paul Silvi (KING 5 sports anchor), Ian Furness (KJR 950 AM Host) and Cameron Bancroft (24: Day 4, Hockeyville on CBC) as well as former Mariners catcher Dan Wilson, who played goalie on the hockey team at his Chicago area high school long before he spent a dozen years in the Seattle baseball uniform. Also on the ice: TBirds and Breakers alumni including Danny Lorenz, Al Kinisky, Blake Knox, Regan Mueller, Pat Smith, Jamie Huscroft, Ryan Gibbons, and Lloyd Shaw.

As an added bonus, there’s an auction for a Team Canada jersey autographed by former Thunderbirds/San Jose Sharks/Team Canada player Patrick Marleau. Patty’s a Thunderbirds legend for good reason and the bidding will be hot and heavy, with the proceeds helping the RMDH help the families they serve.

The All-Star game immediately follows what is bound to be a thrilling match between the Tbirds and their longtime nemesis, the Portland Winterhawks. The Hawks have held the upper hand in most of their previous meetings this season, but the rebounding Birds look to extend their three game win streak by taking down their longtime rivals and both teams will be out for blood. Birds/Hawks match ups are always intense; no less an authority than Sports Illustrated has listed seeing one as an experience every sports fan should have.

A single ticket gets you in the door for the whole day long extravaganza; tickets can be purchased at the ShoWare Center box office day of game or online. State Farm will be handing out Roll-a-bannas to the first 2,000 fans through the door.

The Tbirds play again Sunday at home against the Tri City Americans; Valley Medical will be handing out blinking safety lights and selling bike helmets with custom fitting right there at the arena. The final four home games of the season are versus Spokane on March 6, Tri City again on March 7, Portland again on March 13 and versus Vancouver for the final game of the season, March 14.

Rat City Roller Girls new season debut with discounts, donations

rcrg by sn
Grave Danger v. Derby Liberation front in a photo by Slightly North

The Rat City Rollergirls skate into the 2010 season with a bout on Sunday, January 31 at Key Arena. All four home teams–Sockit Wrenches, Derby Liberation Front, Throttle Rockets and Grave Danger–will battle each other tourney style as they duke it out to see which non-profit group each team has selected will score the biggest donation based on the team representing them.

The Sockit Wrenches will be fighting for the Lambert House, a center for GLBTQ youth. The Pinup Angels send care packages to American servicemembers stationed around the world, they’re represented by Derby Liberation Front. Throttle Rockets are standing up for Fisher House, an organization that enables military family members to be by their loved one’s side during hospitalization for illness, disease, or injury. Grave Danger is there for Old Dog Haven who provide homes for Washington’s senior dogs.

Doors open at 2:30 and the bouts begin an hour later. RCRG season ticket holders, don’t forget that you get the opportunity to enter in your very own door on the east side of Key Arena, enabling you to score the choicest seats in the house. (If you’re not already a season ticket holder and would like to be, check the RCRG site for details.) Individual game tickets can be purchased at the door; in recognition of the tough economic times, the Rollergirls are sweetening the pot by offering a deal: buy four tickets and get a fifth free. Take advantage of this offer by gathering your group and heading down to an in-person ticket location or purchase in advance online through Ticketmaster.

Tbirds 12 hour sale raises $7K for Police Guild, hopes for more

This morning at 9am, the Seattle Thunderbirds began their 12-hour sale for tickets to the game Friday, December 11, against divisional rival Tri City Americans. During this sale, 100 percent of the ticket revenue for all tickets sold for this game through the Thunderbirds’ website will be donated to the Lakewood Police Independent Guild, to the aid of the children of the four recently murdered Lakewood Police officers.

Friday’s game should be a good one; the struggling Tbirds are working hard to drag themselves out of basement ratings and the Ams are working hard to stay ahead of the Portland Winterhawks and the Spokane Chiefs, a mere one and two points behind them in the standings. The sale continues tonight through 9pm for anyone who wants to get in on it–so far the sale has raised $7,000 and the team is hoping to raise much more.

Celebrate the MLS Cup with food, fun

Sounders Seafood ShockerThe Seattle Sounders weren’t able to convert an otherwise extremely successful season into a championship, but fans of soccer still get a chance to get in one more game as this weekend Qwest Field plays host to the MLS Cup. To celebrate this important game, the chefs at Qwest have created a series of special dishes for fans to enjoy during the game, including Sounders fan favorite, the Seafood Shocker which features breaded halibut, shoe string French fries, vinegar-marinated red cabbage slaw and spicy malt tartar sauce served on a foot-long toasted roll skewered with shrimp, lemon and tomato.

As the LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake duke it out for supremacy, fans can snack on the Galaxy Dog which features two strips of applewood smoked bacon, nacho cheese sauce, red onion and diced tomatoes and is available, naturally, at Seattle Dogs. Ciao Down will offer the Galaxy Pizza, topped with ground buffalo, caramelized red onions, thick cut bacon, and pepper-jack cheese. Real Salt Lake is represented by Grill 12’s Salt Lake Burger topped with caramelized red onion jam, apple wood smoked bacon, blue cheese, and black cherry barbeque sauce.

The FSN Lounge will be honoring the world’s love for the beautiful game with an assortment of internationally-inspired dishes like Dungeness crab macaroni and Cheese (England), Pissaladiere baked puff pastry with olives, grape tomatoes, caramelized onions and triple cream brie (Spain), Mama’s meatballs (Italy), Bossa Nova chicken sandwich (Brazil) and more.

VictoryKnot Everybody loves pretzels, or nearly everyone enough to ensure that pretzels have long been a staple item at sporting events. Since the MLS Cup is a big event, it makes sense that this game has available a big pretzel–the Victory Knot is a two-pound pretzel topped with sea salt and served with three dipping sauces (spicy mustard, beer cheese and sweet vanilla cream). This pretzel is so big that it is served in a full-size pizza box.

Finally, no matter who wins the game, everyone can celebrate the day with MLS cupcakes – cupcakes decorated with the MLS and team logos.

Kick off for the MLS cup is at 5:30 pm on Sunday, November 22, but there are plenty of events to occupy you until game time. On Friday, November 20, MLS players will go toss a fish at the Pike Place Market at 3pm. Fado Irish Pub hosts a Meet and Greet and Silent Auction from 6 – 8 pm with happy hour drink specials all night long, appearances by Sounders FC players Sébastien Le Toux and Taylor Graham, and a silent auction to raise money for Seattle Children’s Hospital.

The 2009 Supporters Summit happens at Qwest Field on Saturday, November 21, featuring a State of the League speech by MLS Commissioner Don Garber, Supporters Shield history and presentation by Sam Perron, Kansas City Wizards, a raffle and an officiating and technical discussion panel with Joe Machnick and Alfonso Mondelo.

Saturday night features the Sounders End of Season party at The Baltic Room and a Pioneer Square Supporters Social at Elysian Fields.

On Sunday, get psyched for the game in the morning at the FIFA 2010 Tournament at Fado, sponsored by Gorilla FC, in which teams of players compete to find out who is the best FIFA10 XBOX player, winning great Sounders prizes and raising money for the victims of Black October in Bolivia.

Sunday afternoon there’s a Pre-Game Spaghetti Feed at Fuel and then at 3:45 soccer fans meet up at Occidental Square for the traditional March to the Match, accompanied by Sounders FC owners, players, coaches and MLS Commissioner Don Garber.

Thunderbirds goalie named CHL goaltender of the week

calvin 092509The Seattle Thunderbirds have had a rough start to their season so far with an 8-13 record that currently sees them at the bottom of the Western Hockey League’s US division, but things are starting to look up for the team after a solid weekend of wins and some strong individual performances from the players. Second-year goaltender Calvin Pickard, 17, is a definite asset to the team and has been recognized for his perfect performance last week as this week’s Canadian Hockey League Goaltender of the Week. (The CHL consists of the WHL, the OHL, and the QMJHL). Pickard’s week included three road game wins in three nights, with 22 saves in a 7-2 win over the Kamloops Blazers and shutouts against the Everett Silvertips during which he stopped 29 shots of 29 and the Vancouver Giants where he stopped at 25 shots he faced. The highly regarded young goalie is eligible for the 2010 NHL entry draft for which he’s currently ranked at number one among goaltender prospects. Pickard will also be representing Team WHL at the 2009 Subway Super Series in Victoria, BC, on November 25 and Kelowna, BC, on November 26.

The Tbirds continue their drive for an improved record this weekend at home in Kent’s ShoWare Center this weekend, facing two teams from last week’s victories: Kamloops Blazers Friday and Everett Silvertips Saturday.

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