Tuesday, December 19, 2006
What were you doing at 11:59 pm Monday night (Dec 18)? I am enjoying my 4th annual Las Vegas Wranglers Midnight Madness hockey game via the net! Isn't the internet a wondrous thing? It's been marked on my iCal for months now, ever since the Wranglers released their 2006/07 schedule back in August. I stumbled upon the Midnight Madness game 4 years ago, and have looked forward to it each year since. Unfortunately for me, the way things work this year, I don't start my Christmas vacation until next week, so unlike the previous 3 years where I didn't have to work the next day after the Midnight Madness games, this time, I have to go to work the next day, and I don't expect this game to be over until some time around 3 am.
But I wouldn't miss it!... A woman bared her breasts on the big screen at the Wranglers' Midnight Holiday Roundup two years ago and tribute band "Mini Kiss" stole the show at last season's game. About the only thing one can count on at this unique promotion is that the game will go into overtime or a shootout, as the first three midnight games have at the Orleans Arena. We'll have to wait to see how the one turns out in a few hours.
Las Vegas president Billy Johnson came up with the idea to become the first pro sports team to play a midnight game. "I went to school at the University of Kentucky back when it was one of the first schools to do 'Midnight Madness' for the basketball program and it's the first time I've had an opportunity to be in a market to do something like that," he said. "It's definitely a top-five promotion for us, it's so unique. The funny thing about promotions in minor league sports is people like to take ownership of it."
Johnson said the Wranglers have averaged close to 5,000 fans per midnight game.
"I think it's a neat idea. It's something unique to our organization," he said. "We don't mind playing them. The guys get a nice Christmas break after them. It's always the last game before Christmas. And it's something to talk about with your kids or wife someday, that you played a midnight game until three in the morning in Las Vegas.
Here is a great sound bite from last years game, which occurred some time in the third period - around 2:30 am. The game announcer used one of my favorite hockey phrases after a goal... "He put it up where Grandma keeps the cookies", only, he was so tired that it didn't exactly come out as planned. It had me laughing for the next few minutes!