Crunch Time

i-ZBq6hXN-MI attended my first Syracuse Crunch game since their inaugural season in 1994. This being the Crunch’s 20th anniversary, I figured why not give it another shot! (Discount tickets from my wife’s employer didn’t hurt either.)

(photos by Scott Thomas of Views Infinitum)

I really do not know why it took so long for me to get back to a Crunch game. Hockey is a sport that is best seen in person. The game was exciting, had some scoring and was pretty well attended for a bitter cold CNY evening. I had, on the face of it, pretty lousy seats–just a couple rows from the top and closer to one end than the other. But however much the locals like to criticize the War Memorial, there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. It’s small enough that even the “nosebleed” seats give you a great view.

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The Crunch aren’t playing well this season–they are in last place in their division. They were playing Adirondack–the last place team in their division. But the hockey was pretty good and the fans all seemed to be having a good time. I can’t imagine how psyched the crowd must have been last year when the Crunch won their conference and played in the Calder Cup finals. The basic attitude and behavior of Crunch fans is totally different from the other major sports events in town. Crunch fans actually come to games and make some noise, unlike the sad, small and flat crowds at the Syracuse Chiefs baseball games. In distinction to the horrible crowds up at the Dome for SU football and basketball, Crunch fans don’t boo their own players or feel entitled to wins.

Sure, there are some problems with Crunch games. The volume on the music being played is too loud for the system being used–it has too much buzzing and distortion. I love loud music, but not to the point where you can’t make out the tune. The announcer is like an old-fashioned AM radio DJ on drugs–every phrase he utters is tricked out with cutesy nicknames and rolling thunder emphasis on EVERY SYLLABLE!

The Crunch did fix my biggest peeve with their presentation that I recall from 20 years ago–they both announce and post on the scoreboard the penalties assessed to players–and why!

So the game was exciting (the Crunch nearly gave away the game with three goals against in the last 11 minutes–but rescued it with an OT goal.) The crowd was into the game. I enjoyed myself. I promise–it will not take me another twenty years to see another game.

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4 thoughts on “Crunch Time

  1. Scott Thomas Photography

    Last year was amazing. You can check out my photos from the playoff games on my blog. Want to hear some real noise? Check out this weekend’s game against Rochester and the next game against Utica (April 5th). These Thruway rivals add to the excitement.

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  2. markbialczak

    I enjoy the Crunch atmosphere, too, Phil. My dear wife Karen and I went once last year, in the Calder Cup semifinals, and once earlier this season. The Crunch lost both games, but that only bothered me a little. The War Memorial is a great old hockey barn. For concerts, though …

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  3. JohnD

    Don’t forget the Syracuse Knights. If you like soccer, you’ll enjoy the fast hockey like action of watching and indoor soccer game. Went to my first on the other day and truly enjoyed it. I’d also say it has the same type of atmosphere as a crunch game just without the ice, pads and helmets (although, less fighting). It’s worth it to go check them out.

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  4. Phil Post author

    Scott: that’s a good idea–check out the thruway rivals for my next game. Your photos are always cool BTW! Mark: Haven’t seen a concert there in years, I’m thinking high school in the 70’s. Only good seats are standing room in front of stage. JohnD: interesting idea, thanks!

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