Royalty Tours USA

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Royalty goes to Hershey, Pennsylvania for AHL Outdoor Classic at Hersheypark Stadium!

Live action  from AHL Outdoor Classic at Hersheypark Stadium
Back in August 2012 when the American Hockey League schedule came out, they announced that in celebration of the Hershey Bears 75th Anniversary season, they were going to play an outdoor game at Hersheypark Stadium on January 20th. With that being said, I marked my calendar to make sure I would be there. It wasn't an easy decision to make since that was going to be the same weekend the NFL would be playing its Championship games. It turned out the games were being played in Atlanta and Foxboro this time. Since I was in Foxboro last year for the game, I didn't mind passing up the opportunity to go there again this year. After all, it's impossible to be everywhere at the same time.

With 7 Championship games seen live including three straight AFC ones, it was time to do something different & unique. With that being said, I was also able to visit my parents while I was in the area since they live nearby in Lancaster, PA.

After I spent some time with them Sunday morning, I drove to Super 8 and I picked up the King and our pal Vincent Ascanio. We wound up going to Cracker Barrel which was nearby to have breakfast. I must say this was the worst one I've ever been to. Normally they have great food and service. This time that wasn't the case. As they say, everybody has a bad day from time to time. On this day, apparently it was their turn.

After we ate, we went to Walmart to do some shopping since we had some time to kill because we arranged to meet up with some of our buddies from New York City who were driving to Hershey for the 5PM game as well. In fact, our pal Larry Peim was able to round up tickets for us on e-bay below face value which worked out well for all of us. He arranged to meet the person who had the tickets at Chocolate World which is right next door to the Stadium at 3PM.

We wound up meeting Larry along with our pals Michael Abrams and Rob Pierlewski aka Pittsburgh Rob as we call him at 2PM at Fuddruckers which is within a mile or two of the Chocolate capital. We decided to join them for a light lunch since we weren't going to eat dinner until after the game. It turned out to be a wise choice.

After we ate we followed each other over to the stadium and we parked next to each other.

We walked over and Larry met up with the person who had the tickets for us. The seats were towards the top of the building which gave us a better view of the action. It worked out well as we were able to see the action from a decent vantage point all things considered. I want to personally thank Larry for looking out for all of us.

As for the match up we saw, the Hershey Bears who are affiliated with the Washington Capitals were playing the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins who are the farm club for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
They announced a crowd of 17,311 which was allegedly a sell out but I did notice a section across the ice from us that had some empty benches. The crowd consisted of fans of both teams as well as hockey fans in general.

In all fairness to the people who braved the elements, the temperature did drop from the upper 40's into the mid 30's as the day & game wore on. The wind was gusting early then it calmed down for the most part as the game and night went on.

All things considered, they had a nice festive turnout for this unique event. Over the years, Hershey has been known for its loyal fan base and on this day it showed the area's passion for the sport.

As for the game we saw, it started slow as both teams felt each other out. Thus the first period was a scoreless one. In the second period, the Bears finally broke through with 4:20 left to play as their leading scorer Tomas Kundratek blasted a one timer from the slot that flew over the glove of Penguins goaltender Jeff Zatkoff to give the Bears a 1-0 lead. In the third period, the Penguins evened the score as Riley Holzapfel found the net to tie the game at one with 12:13 to go. The game wound up going into overtime. It ended in sudden death as the Penguins' Paul Thompson got the game winner on a breakaway 1:19 into the extra session which gave the Penguins a 2-1 victory.

After the game, the fans were treated to a fireworks show which was very impressive to say the least.
Regardless of the outcome, it turned out to be a great day of hockey outdoors.

After the game, we all headed to our cars and we followed each other out. We all decided to drive to Allentown, PA where our pal Michael Abrams recommended having dinner at the Starlite Diner which was located off of exit 49A on I-78. It wound up being a terrific decision. We got to have a full course meal before we all headed our separate ways. They went back to NYC and we went back to Lancaster to spend the night. In addition, we got to watch the end of the football game as the Ravens beat the Patriots to play the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. I want to thank Michael for the suggestion. It was a great way to cap off a memorable day.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

1 comment:

Kurt Smith said...

I love outdoor hockey, but the cold can be rough! Guess that's why I don't go to many football games...