Wichita Thunder – Game Day Update
Submitted by: Jason Mals, Director of Broadcasting – Wichita Thunder Hockey
Its Game Day! The day for me started out with a radio interview on Sports Radio 1410 KGSO with Chris Allison, talking about the game tonight and how Sunday’s win could roll over. In the playoffs, each game has to be looked at as a separate circumstance and with the Brahmas returning home, I expect a much more competitive game than Sunday was.
After grabbing a little breakfast from the hotel, the team jumped on the bus and headed over the NYTEX Sports Centre. Most of the hotels in the CHL have a free Continental breakfast, which the guys take advantage of. For those who haven’t been to the ‘Shoebox,’ you are in for a different experience. The fans are right on top of the ice and the sound reverberates to make it feel like you are playing in front of 5,000 people. The building is listed at capacity at 2,400. Just think of the Wichita Ice Center Olympic sheet with a vaulted ceiling, steel bleachers and suites created on the north end of the rink. The south end has about 10 rows of steel bleachers and the press box is made of wood.
The Brahmas finished their pre-game skate and the theme from their coach, Dan Wildfong, this is our house (in so many words). Wildfong is remembered by Thunder faithful for an incident the last time Wichita made the Conference Finals, when he speared Travis Clayton and a bench-clearing brawl ensued. It was my first year in the CHL and I will never forget that. My color-commentator and current GM Joel T. Lomurno even has a picture of the two coaches from that night in his office.
After practice is over, most of the guys will head out for lunch. The restaurant of choice is usually Olive Garden. I will head back to the hotel and then over to Jersey Mikes Subs with some of the staff members including Shane from KAKE TV. Wichita could use a Jersey Mike’s location. The sandwiches are unreal. The rest of the day will be gathering pre-game notes and then the bus will leave at 4:45 for the arena. I will have more after the game tonight as the guys look to make a statement on the road in Game 3!