SJSU @ SRJC, Jan 29, 2011
It was not a fairly matched game. This San Jose State team has not, according to their website, won a game this season. It needs updating but tonight did not depart from that pattern.
Knowing the outcome of the game is hardly a spoiler. With SJS’s record, against the SRJC season record of 11 wins out of 15 games, how much suspense could I expect?
I had the distinct impression that the SRJC players were actually using the SJSU players’ skates to make passes, the way most players use the boards.
The SRJC Polar Bears started the season off with an eight game winning streak, then fell into a slump during which they went 3-3 before winning the game I saw last week. Their coach was glad for that win but not satisfied with the performance. They only won by one goal, after starting the game very strong. He complained of their work ethic over the last month. I guess if you are trying to prove your work ethic, all you can do is really beat the dickens out of the next team you face.
The team has a record more like a bunch of ringers than a club new to the league. Several have long hair. Their pants are tattered, I think not by design. They played with a gusto that was infectious. Some of their hits were a little late. Sometimes I saw them pause to make eye contact with the target. I thought that was polite, but had to wonder why the target didn’t just get out of the way.
I don’t know if they are very good shots. Their puck control and net presence, at least against the teams I saw them play, made shooting ability irrelevant. They almost always had the puck and could do pretty much whatever they wanted with it.
The turnout was impressive: standing room only if you didn’t get there early. There was a hole in the safety netting, but it mostly protected the audience. No one got hit.
Santa Rosa has a long history of ice hockey interest. But it doesn’t have a big time team, not minor league, not college. It doesn’t have a big rink or venue. The city’s history with hockey is small scale but there’s no shortage of avid enthusiasm.
There was a brief discussion of building a ball park in Petaluma. It came to nothing, though I think someone will be building a Target store where that ball park would have been. It would appear that no one has any faith in Sonoma County to support pro sports.
Our population is not dense, but the county is enormous. There are plans in place to build a very large equestrian event facility. I suppose if that is successful, it could be proof that Sonoma’s economy could support a sports facility. I’m not sure that ice hockey would be at the top of their to do list.
I have to wonder how many Sonoma County hockey fans make the drive to San Jose on a regular basis. I’d think that at the very least we could muster a few pub nights for hockey fans around here. Maybe pizza would be better, since people in Sonoma county generally have to drive a long ways to get anywhere.
I know we are out there. We just need to find each other. I wish I had started going to Polar Bear games earlier in the year, but I’m glad I saw the last two.