With pages full of notes from the game there’s a bit of stuff that didn’t make it into my story over on This Week in Worcester, so with space not being a concern on this blog I figured I’d mention them here.
First off, I was shocked at how good the bowl of the DCU Center looked. The new signage is sharp, and despite the ads that are there now the section numbers are significantly clearer. The LED lights make a huge difference too. Several of us joked that goaltenders won’t need headlamps to find the puck anymore.
The new scoreboard is incredible. The replay and graphics on it are crisp, and unlike the old video boards the puck is easily discernable on the screen. The halo along the bottom is just as cool, showing the score and penalty time for both teams, with the team names being graphics and not just the standard “Railers” being listed.
As usual I arrived about 90 minutes before puck drop, catching just the end of the youth hockey game going on. As soon as that game ended DCU arena staff were on the ice putting up more dasher ads. For the first time in Worcester hockey history every ad space has been sold by the Railers, so no obvious “we couldn’t sell that section” placeholders.
In the above picture, which is about as big as I could make it without messing up the formatting of the post, you can see two of the empty spaces along the boards next to the Pepsi ad in the right of the picture. Those spaces had dasher ads in them at the start of the game. There was also one added right at the bottom of the stairs I was standing on to take the picture.
Speaking of Pepsi, notice all the faceoff dots–except the one at center ice– are Pepsi logos. I looked to see if this was a league-wide thing and it appears it’s not. That’s a huge get for the sales staff of the Railers. So isn’t the ads for MGM Grand in Springfield. Good to see two heavy hitter sponsors like that.
There were a couple minor glitches with the new scoreboard. The first one is I think they had the graphics for each team on the wrong sides. I’m pretty sure the graphics are supposed to line up with the penalty boxes and not the player benches. Because of that the second mistake was made and on the scoreboard the opening goal was credited to Manchester.
Now that isn’t a huge deal, but the comedy of errors to get the score fixed had many around my perch laughing. At one point the side scoreboards had the Monarchs leading 197-4, which I’m guessing would be some sort of record. They did get it fixed soon after and a loud cheer went up at the DCU.
Nothing more than growing pains if you think about it. With the Railers exhibition games at Worcester Ice instead of the DCU Center there probably wasn’t any dress rehearsal for those kind of things. The good news is eventually it will run seamlessly.
On the ice, at least for Saturday, the team was fun to watch. Now granted they made their share of mistakes, but almost every one of those was not due to a moment of hesitation. As a player quickly deciding what you’re going to do, even if you’re wrong, and then doing it with confidence often times works out better than taking too long to finally make up your mind what to do and have it be the right thing.
Fans should also enjoy watching defenseman Patrick McNally, because he likely won’t be here long. He’s far too good to be at this level for long, and with so many AHL teams close by he’s likely going to be in demand a lot for call-ups.
And on a personal note, over the 11 years the Worcester IceCats were in the city I caught a handful of t-shirts launched into the crowed, but it took many years before I got my first one. It was the same with the Sharks. But let the record show the first t-shirt I caught from the Railers took place during the second media timeout of the third period opening night.
I was sitting taking notes when the t-shirt throwing began, and I could hear the t-shirt gun fire but I wasn’t paying any attention to it at all. Suddenly I heard the kids in front of me get excited, I looked up, and the t-shirt arched right to me. I calmly grabbed it in my right hand (without dropping my pen, I might add), and then passed it off to “ANT” sitting just to my left.
Unfortunately that didn’t make the highlight video.