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Parents, do you agree with MLive’s guide to bringing children to watch a Wings game?

This isn't exactly another, "Girls' guide to Watching the Rangers"--and kudos to Stanley Cup of Chowder's Sarah Connors for issuing a stern and thorough rebuttal to both the concept that women somehow can't be passionate sports fans, or those who believe that anyone who sees an athlete and is attracted to them suddenly becomes a sports "bunny"--but this well-intentioned article by MLive's Karen Dybis, offering a parent's guide to bringing children to Red Wings games has me a bit perplexed.

I had parents who were very thorough about going to public places or attending public events when I was growing up--they'd walk me through the routine, how long we'd be staying, where we were going to eat, how long a walk it would be to where we were parking, what constituted appropriate conduct, etc.--and if I or my friends started misbehaving, we were told to zip it and usually did.

Here are some of Dybis' points...Parents, what do you think about these suggestions?

  •  Try eating somewhere nearby before going into the arena. Kids are little engines. Put some coal in, and they’ll chug along nicely. Forget to feed them, and get ready for a temper tantrum right before the puck drops. Plus, there are plenty of family-friendly bars near Joe Louis where you can pick up a pizza or hot-dog dinner for a reasonable price. Consider Hockeytown restaurant to see the memorabilia there, and the Grand Circus People Mover station.

Again, my dad's version of a pre-game meal was eating a hamburger at the Athens Bar or going to Trapper's Alley (yes, I'm that old, I remember when Trapper's Alley was very fancy, and I remember when it was very shady, too)...

  •  If you’re willing to plan ahead, set up a reservation at The Signature Grill, a restaurant adjacent to the Joe at Riverfront Towers apartments. You can typically park at the apartment garage if you’ve got your name in with the restaurant. The food’s not overly expensive, especially if you do just a couple appetizers and drinks. Plus, there is an amazing view of the Detroit River and Canada to keep everyone happy. There also is an indoor tunnel to walk to the game. You’ll be out of there and home in your PJs before most fans have even started their cars.


  • Look for end seats. If you have a choice, try to sit in a position where constant trips to the bathroom or for snacks won’t bother your fellow patrons. Nothing creates more animosity among fans than being stepped over constantly.

This one kind of bugs me because I believe that everyone at every age who goes to Joe Louis Arena needs to know that restrooms are a pain in the bladder to use, and from day one of going to the Joe--or going to any sporting event--I was reminded to plan my fluid intake accordingly. I know that sounds cheesy, but, "Don't load up on pop or you'll have to pee three times during the game" is plain old honest.

  • Don’t wait until the game is over to leave. If you stay until the bitter end, you’ll be joining hundreds of people into the People Mover. They’ll smash your kids as soon as to look at them. If you’d like to avoid the shoving match, get out early and get moving back to your car. The freeways will be less crowded as well, and everyone can enjoy a cursing-free nap on the way home.

This really gets to me. I don't believe in leaving the game early, for starters--seats are expensive, and you're essentially renting 'em for sixty minutes of playing time, so why not maximize your investment?--and the parents I know both do their best to serve as bouncers for their kids in the crush of the "moo" tunnel to the Joe Garage, along the way to the Cobo Roof, or on the People Mover, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with a parent telling a pushy person, "Hey, watch out for my son/daughter/their friend."

There's also something called stadium etiquette, and the adults attending the game have responsibilities to watch their swearing around kids, to understand that they're gonna be up and out of their seats a little more often, that they may get a little tired or a little grumpy because kids are kids, and that you really have to watch out for other people, and especially little ones, whlie going up and down the stairs or traversing the concourses. In my opinion, the responsibilities for making sure that kids enjoy the game include common courtesy and common sense from those who don't have kids and understand that some patience and tolerance is necessary. That doesn't excuse a parent from allowing their kid to spazz out or have a temper tantrum at a game, but hey, sometimes things happen, and we all have to let things slide at games.

What do you think about this guide? Are we just talking about very young children here, or do you think that this applies to a wider range of "kids'" age groups? And what are your recommendations to fellow Wings fans in terms of bringing small children, school-agers or their teens to games?

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink


Puck's avatar

“what do you think about these suggestions?”

Tripe. Looks like Karen had a deadline that she didn’t know about and threw something together. A hockey game might be too much for your little crotch fruit but for sure there’s a family friendly bar close to the Joe, LOL! Kids love riding the people mover but don’t let them ride the people mover or they’ll get smashed, LOL!

Posted by Puck from San Francisco, CA on 01/30/13 at 08:24 PM ET

Forlorn in VA's avatar

Why go to a game and not stay for it all?  Seriously?  If you’re that worried about traffic, stay home and watch it on tv.

Posted by Forlorn in VA on 01/30/13 at 09:00 PM ET


This really gets to me. I don’t believe in leaving the game early, for starters—seats are expensive, and you’re essentially renting ‘em for sixty minutes of playing time, so why not maximize your investment?

This. Sweet Jesus.

Also, I’d prefer that all kids under 12 years of age be banned from all public places…with the lone exception being school.

Posted by godblender on 01/30/13 at 09:22 PM ET

cigar_nurse's avatar

Also, I’d prefer that all kids under 12 years of age be banned from all public places…with the lone exception being school.

Posted by godblender on 01/30/13 at 08:22 PM ET

I like to ammend that to no strollers in cramped places. If ya can’t carry em or they can’t walk, don’t bring em.

Posted by cigar_nurse from On The mend for next season Greenville Pylons on 01/30/13 at 10:55 PM ET

LivinLaVidaLockout's avatar

Also, I’d prefer that all kids under 12 years of age be banned from all public places…with the lone exception being school.

Posted by godblender on 01/30/13 at 08:22 PM ET

There were some young children behind me at the game yesterday… they were so adorable, singing jingle bells, coughing, for a time crying, and kicking my seat, and everyone once in a while their parents would yell at them.  I wanted to shoot myself, but then the Wings decided to be magnificent.

Posted by LivinLaVidaLockout on 01/30/13 at 11:04 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

Every parent thinks their kid is the exception, but my kid was always a buddy at hockey games. He’s 17 now, but I’ve been watching the wings with him since I used to balance a 13” tv on one knee and him on my other trying to get Detroit tv across the lake in Cleveland. Feed the kids, bathroom before the first puck drop and mill about in the arena afterwards to allow traffic to dissipate. It’s not rocket surgery. As far as the Hockeytown Cafe, I was the kid in that situation. My wife decided to take me on our first trip to see the Wings at JLA. I geeked out over the effin napkins. For real. But for the love of Helm, DON’T TAKE A KID TO A HOCKEY GAME IF THE KID DOESN’T LOVE HOCKEY!!! The problem isn’t kids, it’s casual fans (of all ages). Kids just have the intellectual honesty to bitch, cry and whine rather than dick around on their cell phone and get up every three minutes for some reason.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 01/31/13 at 01:01 AM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.