Sound Tigers Lose...Remain Unbeaten

It is difficult to explain how after a loss I was so upbeat leaving the arena.  The Bridgeport Sound Tigers needed a win to match the franchise record 9 game win streak set in February 2002 and matched in November 2003.  We lost.  It was not because we had taken a very good St. Johns Icecaps team (with a ridiculous 15-2-2-1 road record) to a shoot out.  We lost.  It was not because we had played 60 minutes of solid hockey, because we didn’t.  And we lost.  It was all about the fan experience at The Webster Bank Arena.  

I got to the arena about 15 minutes after leaving my place of choice and was once again refused a full body cavity search by Kim, manager of the security team.   Ticket scanned and hugs exchanged with Colleen, tonight’s fanny counter (Judy was off-duty).  I entered.  On my way through the newly renovated concourse I picked up my game sheet from good friend and account rep Sarah.   A Bud from Mary who recently made my list of ‘top 100, and counting, bartenders’ and I was headed to the elevator.

It was one of those two door elevators like a hospital, public through the front and surgeons through the back.  Immediately after entering, the business side of the elevator opened and in walked Mark Katic.   Sandwich in hand and nearly out of breath he said,  “Hey Mike thanks for coming tonight.”

“Wouldn’t miss it.  Chance for a 9 wins in a row.  You okay?”

“Yeah, just finished a good work out.”

Bell dings, door opens, and I wish Mark luck as he says ‘enjoy the game’.  ‘Always do buddy, be well!’  Mark is headed to level 4 with the injured/recovering and tonight’s ‘healthy scratches’, and I head for my seat.  Last home game before the AHL All Star break.  The first period ended in a 1-1 tie with The Sound Tigers All Star representative Casey Cizikas netting his first of two goals for the evening.  Between periods I headed to section 109 to introduce my friend Debbie (president of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Fan Club) to the wonderful world of twitter.  (Note to self- don’t carry more than half a beer down the steps during a t-shirt toss)  Second period ends and the Tigers are down 2-1 both Icecaps goals coming on power plays.

A tweet from @Fornabaioctp pops up while early in my twitter training session saying ‘Gillies has shaved’.  Now this is noteworthy!  I look up over my right shoulder M-A-S-H unit on level 4 and sure enough, sitting next to Katic is a big dude I could hardly recognize, Trevor Gillies.

In November of 2011 the AHL and NHL sponsored an event to promote male cancer awareness.  Dubbed ‘Movemeber’ facial hair was encouraged and Gillies- like ‘stashes’ were sold for the cause.  I bought a few during that time and still had one in my coat pocket…so WTH!  Back to the elevator to level 4 I walked up to Gillies and handing him the faux stash said:

“Hi Trevor, I think you lost this.” 

Big Gillies smile and “No, it’s yours Mike thanks.”

“Looks Good!”

“Wife likes it, I don’t think I will ever grow it back.  I’ll be a quiet assassin maybe some new guy won’t recognize me and drop his gloves.”

I returned to my seat to watch the Sound Tigers lose their first game of 2012, but we remain undefeated in regulation and I smile- another fantastic fan experience at The Webster Bank Arena.


-Mike Flannery

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