So last week I was offered a culinary position at a local private university and was told that the background check could take anywhere from 3-10 days to clear. My girlfriend, Stephanie, was also offered a job last week that would begin Monday, so I figured we had one more weekend to get a little traveling in and what better way to do that than a road trip to Chicago [see Rosemont] to catch the Milwaukee Admirals' first game of the AHL season against the Chicago Wolves [and yes, we already saw a precursor to this game during the first Preds pre-season game against Atlanta, but still].
Google Maps will always give you the quickest route it seems, and there were 3 choices to get to Chicago. We opted for the I-65N straight shot, which connects you through the Skyline of the Toll Troll. First, $0.50...then $1.25...then $3.00 [curious enough, it was seventy-five cents less to leave the city] - a complimentary hotdog [or Cubs ticket, whichever is worth less] is the least they could do. If you took away road construction and 5 o'clock work traffic, the ETA would've been spot on [roughly 7 hours and 45 minutes]. It took us 9 and a half hours. Thankfully, the hotel was across the Allstate Arena parking lot.
We got to the hotel just in time to unload, suit up and head immediately back out the door. The ticket booth was in a separate building, which was actually rather convenient because once inside the main entrance the inner-halls of the arena are reminiscent to those of a high school during lunch hour. We got to our seats in section 110, Row A, a mere four rows behind the Away bench, four rows behind the team we came to see, and just in time for the floor show.
Two wooden cut-outs, painted black, were wheeled out onto the ice, leaving us wondering what it could possibly be. Another portion of wooden cut-outs were wheeled to the entrance of the rink that created a 3D effect of a wolf head. "OK, kinda neat. What? Do the eyes light up?" Two small flames appear in the shadows of the first two sections of cut-outs. [CUE MUSIC]
Why do we, as NHL ticketholders, NOT get pyrotechnics?! Don't you say Great White - this arena has a wooden roof! Those fireworks blew up fifteen feet below the roof - and five feet out below the jumbotron!!! The AHL gets fire that you can feel on your face and we get dudes in khakis and polo-t's throwing XL white t-shirts that occassionally make it over the glass. This is how it's done, gentlemen!
Short Shifts was twittering away the results of the game before I could even get my phone turned on, so my attempt at "tweeting" the action [while keeping up with the Preds results on Twitter] came off a bit stifled. And as most of you know by now, the Wolves had the 1st period and the Ads pretty much controlled the rest with a 3-2 Chicago Opening-Night Spoiler ["Take that, obese frat guy sitting next to the Ads glass, insulting them the whole time! Your team lost! Go cry in your cookies!"]. Steph and I hung around to see the 3 stars of the game as well as the rest of the Admirals fans there [the Chicago fans were already leaving with two minutes to go], getting nods for our Preds gear.
Chatted about the Staples Center and told a few fans about affordable hotels near downtown since a handful of them wanted to make the trip to Nashville in the Spring. Shortly after, we were told to clear the arena, which was fine with us - there was a Target that sold whiskey next to the arena and an IHOP next to that. Talk about convenient!
And that was that - a quick to and fro trip to catch our farm team friends from the Great Brewing City in the Windy City. And of course, another four bucks and some change to get back home.