Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 09/08/09 at 05:37 AM ET
Minor league hockey is known for a bunch of things. Line brawls. Bus rides. Community involvement. Good promotions. Bad promotions. Ridiculous one-offs. Carolina’s top affiliate, the Albany River Rats will be participating in one of these ridiculous one-offs this season.
Before I get to that, I should point out one of the coolest things about minor league hockey. The Teddy Bear Toss. Although many teams in many leagues sponsor “Teddy Bear Toss” nights, the Calgary Hitmen probably have the best one going. There’s a video after the jump, which is well worth watching. No description can do it justice. The premise is simple: Fans bring teddy bears to the game and toss them on the ice when the home team scores its first goal. The bears are collected and donated to children’s hospitals and goodwill organizations. They say the record number of bears tossed at a single game was 26,919 by Calgary Hitmen fans in a December 2007 game.
Unfortunately, there are a bunch of other cases where the team means well when it hosts a charity night, but things look really bad.
As part of the breast cancer fight, the Iowa Chops last season played one game on a sheet of pink ice. A lot of teams play with pink sticks, and some players dye their hair pink for the cause. While the intent is certainly noble, the pink ice just didn’t come off that well.
I’ve heard of a team also painting their ice yellow for some charity or another, but I haven’t been able to find any pictures of it.
Much more common than the bizarre color of ice is the bizarre one-off jersey. In conjunction with a charity event, a team will wear an incredibly ridiculous uniform for one night only. These jerseys are typically sold at auction later, and some of them become e-bay fodder. If nothing else, they become the stuff of folklore.
The AHL Milwaukee Admirals famously wore some really horrid plaid uniforms for one night a few seasons ago. This had something to do with baseball “legend” Bob Uecker, who has some formal affiliation with the team. Here’s a youtube clip of those monstrosities.
During the 2009-10 season (presumably one of the November home games), the Albany River Rats are going to sponsor a charity night for Ronald McDonald House Charities. RMHC provides low-cost lodging for families of hospitalized children. The Rats have hosted three previous RMHC nights and have raised over $60,000. For this season’s game and special uniform, they let the fans vote on two designs, and the one they chose looks exactly like the outfit Ronald McDonald wears. It’s all for a good cause, but those uniforms are terrible.
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About Red and Black Hockey
David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.