Haven’t updated in a while — most of my regular updates are on Twitter.
Once again this year, moved seats at Select-A-Seat — updating with links to bump my content on the site.
I find it interesting that Ticketmaster, a company that should be no stranger to the problem of ticket theft, specifically calls out on their website when you select to have your tickets delivered via US Mail:
Your tickets will be mailed to your billing address and delivered no later than 48 hours before the event in a plain unmarked white envelope.
Makes sense, right? After you just dropped a couple hundred bucks on event tickets the last thing you want to happen is for them to go missing.
So much to my surprise, this is what Ticketmaster considers to be a “plain unmarked white envelope”:
Note the return address section closely:
Thanks for sending my tickets in this stealthy envelope, Ticketmaster. I’m sure anyone interested in stealing tickets will never figure this one out!
Just when it felt like last season just wrapped up, this upcoming hockey season is almost here. It all started just 2 weeks ago when I stopped by my PO Box and found this waiting for me:
The theme this year is the history of hockey in MN, so all of the tickets have the patches of the teams in the game, with the Wild alternating between their old and new logo.
And as a further sign it is even getting closer to the season, the Wild held an open practice at the Xcel — it’s good to see the ice back in the building!
That’s right — 2500 people packed into the Xcel today to watch a practice while the Vikes were kicking off for their first regular game of the season.
There might be something to this State of Hockey catchphrase afterall…
I’m not good at keeping this site updated; I fully acknowledge this. For as much as I love technology, I find that constant updates such as those encouraged by typical blogs and social networking sites turn this into more of a chore than a useful communication tool. There exists an endless pool of constantly updated sources of information out on the Internet — this will not be one of them. If you happen to stumble upon this site about every 3-6 months, that will be about the right frequency for updates.
So, now that I’m actually posting up something new I’ve decided on a topic: hockey. Now, the easiest thing to comment on would be the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but there are already a myriad of other sites covering every possible facet of the battle for the Cup, and each of those sites can provide much more meaningful coverage than I could ever hope to. If you’re looking for great Wild coverage, check out Hockey Wilderness or the Wild Official Website. If you want to check out plays & stats from NHL games including those in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, I highly recommend checking out ESPN’s Gamecast for a great Flash-based presentation of all of the shots, goals, hits, and penalties in the game all graphically presented based on their position on the ice. For video clips, NHL.com has a surprisingly good collection of game highlights (often 4-5 minutes worth per game!) and player highlight reels. Now that I’ve directed you to better sources of actual information, I’ll continue on with my story.
Over the last couple years I’ve become a huge hockey fan. It pretty much started in 2006 when I took a trip out to San Jose to evaluate one of Cisco’s router platforms. As part of that trip Cisco got us setup to see a Sharks game with On-The-Glass seats, which was quite the experience.
Up until that point if I had been to a hockey game, I had no strong recollection of it. I remember being in ice rinks and thinking the Zamboni was the coolest thing with 4 wheels ever created, but the only thing I can remember watching is the “Sesame Street on Ice” events as a young kid. I remember vaguely watching some of the Gopher hockey games on TV, but during my entire stint at the U of M there was never anyone in my group of friends that wanted to go to the games. Interest in the NHL never had a chance to catch on because in 1993 the North Stars packed up and moved to Dallas, leaving Minnesota without a team until the Wild were established in 2000.
Enter this 2006 trip to San Jose. I went expecting to just watch a hockey game, but what happened was pure sensory overload. When you have On-The-Glass seats you notice something right away: this game is fast. For some reason that aspect never translates well to TV coverage of games, and you can lose perspective even just being in the upper levels of an arena. It’s unmistakable that the game is non-stop action, and that translates into any medium, but I’m not sure it’s possible to really appreciate a break-away play unless you see someone fly past you just a few feet on the other side of the glass. The other thing that is impressive is the energy created by a stadium full of screaming fan. HP Pavilion Center (aka the Shark Tank) is a great arena to take in a first game. Yeah, I know I should hate the Sharks as they’re another competing team in the Western Conference, but they also do a better job of packing the arena than many other teams in the league.
After that trip I started to get opportunities to go to Wild games by getting tickets through work. In the 2007-2008 season, I had the perfect sequence of events to get hooked. The Wild had a strong season, I was at the game when we won the NorthWest Division, and I had the opportunity to go to the home games for our short playoff run.
Now I’m hooked. I made it to about 25 games in the 2008-09 season, I got signed up for NHL Center Ice ($159 for every out of market game. Best. Deal. Ever.), and I even convinced my satellite provider that I’ve moved to Kentucky so that I can watch any NHL game from any team without any blackout restrictions. The availability of hockey in High Definition is HUGE. It’s so much easier to follow the game when you have a 16:9 wide screen display, and enough resolution to work with that you can actually see the puck. Honestly, if it weren’t for the pefect combination of arena attendance and HD TV coverage of games I don’t think I’d be as hooked as I am today.
One thing I’ve noticed watching some of the History of the Stanley Cup playoffs on the NHL Network is that the game has evolved to more than just a game: the production value is higher. For as much as it’s a hockey game, it’s also theatre. You have arenas with massive video displays both in the center of the rink and lining the stands of the entire arena. There are huge sound systems to pump music into the arena to establish mood or get the crowd engaged. Which brings out the key difference between hockey and traditional theatre — crowd participation isn’t just encouraged, it’s demanded!
For example, here is a video clip that was shown before the start of the 10/11/08 game in the arena:
And here’s a video I took of what was shown before our first home game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2008:
It’s going to be a time of change for the Minnesota Wild over the next few months. We have a new GM, soon to have a new coach, and we have a number of players that are reaching free agency. For next season, I’ve managed to secure myself a front-row (literally) seat to watch how things unfold. I started off at the end of this season buying seats all around the X to find the best places to sit. (I snapped some camera-phone pictures of the various views here.) I finally ended up settling on the club section for a few reasons:
So, if you are at the X (or are watching on TV), you should be able to find me approximately 44 times next season here:
I went down this year for the Wild Warming House Select-A-Seat opportunity, where your account rep shows you what seats are still up for grabs and you have the option to become a season ticket holder if you find something you like and are willing to part with a fistful of cash. In my case, I was able to get the seat I sat in for the last game of the 2008-09 season in Club C23 Row1. What’s nifty is after you plunk down your cash for the seat, they hook you up with this really nice invoice holder:
So, hopefully if everything goes to plan I’ll be in attendance for all 44 home games (3 preseason + 41 regular season) this year. It’s going to be nice to have something to really look forward to after the end of the summer.