My last day in Tucson I spent in Phoenix. Nope, not a typo. Amongst my Bucket List activities is attending a NY Rangers road game (that’s NHL Hockey for any of you overseas readers) in every opponent’s arena. I made the 150 mile drive from Tucson to Glendale, the suburb where the Gila River Arena, home of the Arizona Coyotes, is located. But most people would think of it as Phoenix. Growing up in NJ I have of course been to a Rangers-Devils game back when they played in the Meadowlands. While living in Washington, D.C. I went to several games when the Rangers came to town. I snuck in a game in Tampa against the Lightning while visiting Florida a few years back, and now this is road arena #4. Only 26 more to go.
I only grabbed my tickets on-line about week ago. I hadn’t realized the Rangers would be here. Thanks to the Seat Geek app, which really then just put me through to Ticket Master, I got AMAZING seats…..or seat, singular…at a most reasonable price. Row E, five rows off the ice. A seat like this would be AT LEAST $400 in DC and probably $500 or more in Madison Square Garden (Rangers home ice), if you could get them at all. I paid $129.
I’ve never been anything like this close to the ice.
It is a completely different experience. First, you just don’t realize how big these guys are, either on TV or from the upper deck. Yes, yes, I know, they’re on skates, but ALL of them are on skates so the comparison equals out. Except, Mats Zucarello. He’s still tiny. Second, television makes the ice look quite a bit larger, or perhaps being at ice level just makes it look quite a bit smaller, but I was struck at how crowded and little ice room there was from this perspective. It was really amazing.
Unfortunately most of the play was down the other end of the ice as the Coyotes dominated the game and CRUSCHED my beloved Blue Shirts (even though they are in their road white uniforms) 5-0. It’s been ugly lately with the Rangers having been outscored 18-3 over the last 3 games. I’ve been a Rangers fan for 40 years; this may be the worst 3-game stretch I’ve EVER seen.
I still had fun though, mostly because of these seats. Moving back upstairs will be a big letdown. And without exaggeration, if the crowd was not more than 50% Rangers fans, including nearly everyone around me, then it was extremely close to that.
Hey, it’s a rebuilding year. The team got us excited and raised expectations with some unexpectedly fine play at times over the last several weeks.