Another Awesome Day In The Valley

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But I’m Talking About Prescott Valley —

Being Canadian,  it is almost a foregone conclusion that I’m probably a hockey fan, right?  Well the secret is out.  Yes I am a huge hockey fan and I recently added another reason for loving the game this week.

As some of you know that regularly visit my website  Arizona Hockey Talk, I spend most of my time watching, reporting or writing opinions on the hockey happenings in my hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and/or my adopted home in San Tan Valley, Arizona.

I finally got to scratch off another “to do” on my check list this week.  My wife (Editor at AHT)  and I added the very rare night/morning hockey double header.  Huh?  Yup, we went straight from the Phoenix Coyotes game on Tuesday night up to Prescott Valley for the Arizona Sundogs 10:00 am Wednesday morning first annual “Kids Day Game”. 

Kids Day

photo by Matt Santos

The Arizona Sundogs play in the Central Hockey League (CHL) and call Prescott Valley home.  They play in a state of the art arena called  Tims Toyota Centre  that seats approx 5100 for hockey and up to 6200 for other live events.  It reminded me of most of the arenas across small-town Canada that have Junior Hockey teams that play in the WHL, OHL or the QMJHL.  The fans are close to the ice which provides a terrific atmosphere and there isn’t a bad seat in the house.

About the League 

The Central Hockey League has been around forever with different calibers of hockey and with different affiliations.  Right now, the top professional league in the world is obviously the National Hockey League (NHL) and the next top leagues in North America would be the American Hockey League (AHL) and then the CHL & ECHL.  The AHL acts as the minor-league affiliates for the NHL.  Almost all AHL teams have affiliations with a parent club in the NHL.  A fair comparison would be how AAA baseball is to Major League Baseball.

After the AHL level you have 2 more leagues that act as affiliates to the NHL and AHL rosters.  These 2 leagues would be the Central Hockey League  (CHL) and the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL).  For comparison purposes, these 2 leagues would be like how AA Baseball is to the Majors.

There are many out there that think the CHL is a glorified “Beer League” with a bunch of fighting and bad hockey.  WRONG !!!  This is not the 70’s and 80’s hockey portrayed in movies like Slapshot.

AZ goal

photo by Matt Santos

The CHL is full of players aspiring  to move up to the AHL and eventually the NHL.  Now in saying that, it is probably a long shot to go from the CHL to the NHL very quickly but it can happen.  The CHL to the AHL is probably a more realistic goal but the point is the players are motivated and want to improve.  The CHL is an excellent stepping stone for players wanting to hone their craft and learn the game at the pro-level.  I am very impressed with the speed and quality of hockey and I am definitely a fan.

Goal Sun

photo by Matt Santos

The game we attended the Sundogs beat first place Rapid City Rush 5-1 in front of a packed house full of Prescott Valley students.  The kids had a blast and I think the day was a big hit for all involved.  I never had field trips like that when I was a kid!  

If  you’re a hockey fan or even if you’re not a fan yet curious about the game, I would recommend the short drive up to Prescott Valley to watch a Sundogs game.  There is nothing better than watching a hockey game in arenas of this size.  I guarantee you will enjoy the experience.  The Sundogs offer a terrific product with a price point that will allow families to attend on a regular basis.

012914_054

photo by Matt Santos

I would like to thank Assistant General Manager Ashley Stovall and all the Sundogs staff that were very helpful in making our first Arizona Sundogs game a fun experience.  I made a few new friends and my wife and I will definitely find the time to fit the Sundogs into our busy hockey schedule. 

For more info on the Arizona Sundogs go to their website at ArizonaSundogs.com

Follow @PhxHockTalk   ☛ ☛ ☛ ☛ for AHT articles and updates

Follow @PhxCoyHockTalk  ☛ ☛ ☛ ☛ if you want to just talk hockey

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