Top 10 Tuesday: Playing Hooky For Hockey!

(All Images Courtesy Steve Hiscock)

Yesterday at Sasktel Centre was one of the most fun and energetic times that I have had at a Saskatoon Blades game in an awful long time.

The Team Up For Respect program with the Saskatoon Blades and Kinsmen Club of Saskatoon that brought out 8,681 fans was a huge success. From carefully organizing the arrival of all 5500+ students to the relatable and positive messaging on the scoreboard was outstanding.

The children were engaged in not only the game but also the extras that they were afforded not the least of which was a well thought out workbook, that brought numerous murmurs throughout the building as the students scurried to complete their word search or the answer to a fill in the blank that was flashed on the scoreboard at predetermined intervals.

All in all, a huge tip of the cap needs to go out to the Saskatoon Blades, Kinsmen Club of Saskatoon and their community partners for making the event possible for the youngsters at no cost making the outing priceless!

Oh by the way the game ended in a 5-4 shootout victory for the Regina Pats over the Saskatoon Blades after an entertaining see-saw battle.

So, in light of yesterday’s action here are my top ten thoughts and overheard comments from the Team Up For Respect game between the Saskatoon Blades.

10 – Class Act! Regina Assistant Coach Dave Struch still Bleeds Blue. The proud Blade alumnus and former Head Coach of the club was asked about the event following the game yesterday. You could see the sparkle in his eye as his true wish was that fans would come out and see the extremely hard working Blades compete. Struch is a complete class act and it is my hope that someday he can be given his just due for his years of service to the franchise, despite his contract not being renewed at the end of last season.

9 – “Does this place have a Tim Hortons’?” that was a loud reaction from one adult at the game after the Tim Hortons’ Cup chase was played on the big screen and a promotion message aired on the big screen. Unfortunately, Tim Hortons’ is not available at Sasktel Centre.

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????8 – You mean there’s a guy from Sweden! That was the surprise of one student when the video of Amil Krupic was shown on the big screen with his greeting to the crowd. The following 15 minute quiz of his teacher about Sweden was intriguing to hear as the world seemed to get a little smaller all of a sudden for the youngster.

7 – “I love this music!” that was one girl’s thoughts regarding the music that was cranked up a notch and very interactive for the entire group. Unfortunately through social media some Blades fans didn’t like the injection of energy that the music brought nor the dancing and singing in the stands. That being said some of my favorite moments in the game came when the music was shut off at the start of a play but the kids kept singing.

6 – “How do you get up in the morning?” That was my query to a teacher when I saw the masses of children flooding into the building before the game. How each teacher kept their class where they needed to be was remarkable and a gift. Well done!

5 – More Cowbell! One student that was dressed head to toe in Blades gear asked where the popular Blades video calling for more cowbell was. In truth his knowledge of the game and obvious knowledge of the Blades game day presentation showed his dedication. Future Season Ticket Holder!

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????4 – Speaking of season ticket holders! Shame on the season ticket holders that chose not to notify the Blades of their intent not to attend the game and therefore allow their seat to be filled by a youngster. It’s my understanding that season ticket seat holders were given an opportunity to swap their ticket for another game if they could not attend the mid-morning affair which in turn would allow the Blades to move the kids closer to the ice. It appeared to me that the same club seats, (you know the prime ones between the blue lines) that are often not filled at a Blades game, were vacant yesterday with only the white place holder taped to the seat sticking out like a sore thumb. It’s too bad that these seats are spoken for but vacant as they are prime and would definitely add to the atmosphere of the arena.

3 – When it comes to atmosphere seeing the looks on the Blades and Pats faces as they took to the ice for warm-up in front of a half-full building was something to behold.

2 – Back to the building and full marks to the concessions and ushers. It was all hands on deck and they all made sure to provide prompt, professional service and went over and above the expected to service all that were on hand.

1 –For the regular Blades fans that took time out of their work or play schedules for the morning face-off and fully embraced the event good on you! Especially those that fully embraced the fun. As evidence, here is the sign of the game!

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Again full marks to the entire Blades organization and Saskatoon Kinsmen Club for creating an event that will be talked about for the weeks to come not only in schools but the hockey community as a whole. Here’s to making the day an annual event and hopefully some great spin-off to make future games the same type of success!