When it comes to spectator sports, you have your big three: football, basketball, baseball. In Portland, Oregon that means the Portland Trailblazers, the Seattle Seahawks/Oregon Ducks/Oregon State Beavers/Portland State Vikings, and the Seattle Mariners/Keiser Volcanoes/Hillsboro Hops. If you have lived in Portland for any period of time, odds are that you have experienced at least one of these sporting events live and in person. Heck, the die hards may have even caught some professional soccer with the Portland Timbers at PGE Park.
I’m a big football fan… this is no secret, but, when a buddy of mine asked me what my favorite sport to watch in person was, without hesitating, I said “Hockey.”
Hockey is made for spectators. A large rectangular court of ice, surrounded by large, clear plastic walls, ensure clear visibility anywhere in the arena, a fast paced game with constant action and lots of violent action, ensures entertainment throughout the entire sixty minute affair. Yes, hockey is the way to go for spectator sports.
Luckily, here in Portland, we have our own hockey team, the Portland Winterhawks: A professional minor league hockey team for the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. The Portland Winterhawks have had a lot of success over the years and are one of the best tickets in town… and one of the best excuses you will ever find to visit the historic Memorial Coliseum.
The brilliant thing about hockey is that you don’t need to have a strong working knowledge of the nuances of the game. Unlike football and baseball, which can sometimes be slow and overladen with strategy, hockey is user friendly and even a hockey novice, like my missus, can enjoy the game and cheer on the local boys (and I do mean boys: most of these professional athletes are under twenty years of age).
“Hit ’em harder!”
“Body check the snot out of that punk.”
“Come on! That was a cheap shot.”
Those exclamations don’t come from me, they come from my lovely missus. She loves the hitting, she loves the battles on the ice. She rarely cares about the score, the winners or the losers.
“Take off your ice skate and stab him already!?”
She remembers this from Happy Gilmore. She wants to see it. My sweet, loving, cute as a button wife, mother of my children, comforter of the sick and wounded… for sixty minutes, the Portland Winterhawks turn her into an aggression-loving, quasi-monster. And I love it. She loves it. By the time we have arrived back home, she is her sweet, loving self again. Until the next time we go out to see the Winterhawks.
The Portland Winterhawks are a tradition in Portland, Oregon and are worth the relatively low price of admission and the short drive into town. Sports fan or not, hockey fan or not, the Portland Winterhawks are one the the best shows in town. Check them out!