This past Saturday night (Feb. 10), the crew from Blue Ridge Report was given the opportunity to go and watch the local hockey club, Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs. They belong to the Southern Professional Hockey League, which was established in 2004. Like many of my fellow writers, I hadn’t started following the sport of hockey until the last few years. Although it has always been an interest of mine to learn more about hockey, this is the first time I had ever attended a game. I didn’t know that Roanoke was home to a team until the last few months. After hearing the great experiences from several of my friends, I felt that I needed to check out what Virginia’s own, Roanoke, had to offer.
As we made our way into the Berglund Center, which is the home of the Rail Yard Dawgs, I instantly noticed that the crowd was ready to cheer on the hometown team as they took on the Knoxville Ice Bears. The blue, gold, and red colors of the team flooded the stands from the fan’s shirts and jerseys as they surrounded the center. When the game begun, I was immediately drawn in. The fast-paced, constant flow of movement helps fans maintain a mostly uninterrupted viewing. Players on both sides settled into the game and many of them began to get increasingly physical.
At the end of the first period, the Rail Yard Dawgs were tied 1-1 with the Ice Bears. During every intermission, which is after each of the first two periods, workers help to resurface the ice using a few shovels and a zamboni. This is to ensure the safety of the players by not risking their skates catching on loose pieces of ice. The intermission also featured a quick children’s game, and a tee-shirt toss. The game was ready to make a return.
The second period brought even more scoring action. After a couple of goals, the Rail Yard Dawgs jumped out to a 3-1 lead. Players were body-checking each other into the walls and the emotion from the players was intriguing to watch during the period. Another intermission gave fans a few minutes to talk about the game and featured a segment called, Chuck-A-Puck. During that segment, fans threw pucks onto the ice trying to hit what appeared to be targets as a great way to get them involved. The third period approached and the momentum that the Dawgs had built up wasn’t coming to an end. The team notched two more additional goals to push the team to a 5-1 victory over the opposing Ice Bears.
I would highly recommend checking out the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs. Even if you don’t know much about hockey at all, the atmosphere makes for such a fun experience all around! For more information about the Rail Yard Dawgs, visit: www.railyarddawgs.com