On Saturday, a congregation of Eagles beat up on some Gorillas, the Rayz stung the Bats, and the Kings were no match for the Jackalopes.
Simply put, it was an average weekend for the Central Hockey League, which is one of the most underrated sports leagues in existence. Case in point, the best team in the CHL plays their home games just 20 minutes away from CSU.
The Colorado Eagles, who have been in existence for four seasons, pack more fan-friendly entertainment into two-and-a-half hours than the four pro teams in Denver combined.
After attending my first Eagles game on Friday, there is no doubt in my mind that there isn’t a more enjoyable sports experience in Colorado. The best part of being a fan at an Eagles game is the numerous contests and giveaways that happened throughout the course of the game.
Some selected fans were treated to free Qdoba, while others participated in a chipping contest on the ice during an intermission.
In fact, if the Eagles score six goals in a game, fans can take their ticket stub to Subway for a free sub. It has been my experience, that nothing makes sports fans happier than free food. The Chicks, who are the Eagles’ dance squad, don’t hurt either.
But it takes more than gimmicks and cheerleaders for fans to sell out every Eagles home game ever. The product on the ice also has to perform at a high standard.
This does not seem like a problem for Head Coach Chris Stewart and his club. The team is currently in first place and in their first three seasons have both won the league championship and finished atop the regular season standings.
Another hockey staple is evident with the CHL seemingly promoting fighting. When two players started to tangle Friday, the refs let them go for over a minute as fans stood and applauded with every punch.
While the fight seemed to be pretty pointless, it definitely added to the atmosphere of an otherwise quiet second period.
One noticeable aspect of Eagles games is the numerous advertisements placed throughout the arena and even on the ice itself. Even the ads have a nice local flair with a Johnson’s Corner placard placed along the boards.
All in all, the Eagles are a perfect place for a college audience. Lots of lights, fighting, contestant giveaways, and free food make for an environment unmatched in pro sports.
It seems to me that the Colorado Eagles and the CHL have perfected how to make fans, especially the key 18-to-34 demographic, happy. And I think there is no better compliment I can give.
The Eagles have seven home games between now and the end of winter break. Tickets start at $18. To see their schedule and purchase tickets, visit www.coloradoeagles.com.
Sports Editor Mike Donovan can be reached at email@example.com.