by Larry Ham
I’m sure that if you’re a sports fan, you’ve noticed that attending a professional sporting event has gotten prohibitively expensive. If you want a decent seat for Giants game or a Lakers game, you’ll need to fill out a loan application. That’s why it’s my pleasure to once again encourage you to enjoy the best pro sports deal anywhere – The Fresno Monsters.
It’s a wonderful coincidence that Lorie and I, along with our son and one of my oldest friends, attended a Monsters game this past Saturday night, just as the NHL and the NHL player’s association were finally hammering out an agreement to end the NHL lockout. You couldn’t get a more delicious contrast. On the one hand we have billionaire owners and millionaire players arguing over who’s going to get more of the fan’s money. And on the other hand, we have the Monsters – an entertaining and talented group of guys who play hockey for the love of the game and a chance to move up the hockey ladder, and perhaps one day get a slice of that NHL pie.
Attending a Monsters game is a real bargain, especially considering what an NHL game would cost. Ticket prices range from six to twelve dollars, and since they play at hockey-friendly Selland Arena, there’s not a bad seat in the house. Parking is plentiful and inexpensive, and of course, the food is good as well. It’s simply a lot of fun and a perfect night out for the entire family.
I’ve been a hockey fan for forty years. I’ve seen Wayne Gretzky play in person. I jumped up and down and got a tear in my eye when my Kings finally won the Stanley Cup in 2012. But there’s something very special about seeing a game at Selland, and seeing the kids who play for the Monsters give their all. Hockey is a very demanding game. It’s physical, it’s fast, and it’s played on ice skates. I don’t know how much experience you have with ice skates, but the way those guys can do what they do on a pair of skates is really amazing.
Fresno has a rich tradition of hockey too. I remember many a fun night at Selland back in the 80’s with the old Falcons, who wore uniforms that resembled pajamas. The hockey wasn’t great, and the goalies moved like cigar store Indians, but it was fun. Then the Falcons got a little too big for their britches and outgrew their audience. They moved to the Save Mart Center, moved up to a bigger league, and priced their loyal fans right out of the building. The Falcons abruptly folded several years ago, and we now have the Monsters. If the first few seasons are any indication, the people who run things for the Monsters know what they’re doing, they know the market they are trying to reach, and they are putting a very entertaining and affordable product on the ice. I encourage you to check out the Monsters at their next home game. You’ll have a blast.
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