When my dear wife Karen texted from SMG on Friday afternoon with the news that she’d snagged a pair of free tickets for the AHL All-Star Classic weekend, I was all-in.
The VIP Party on Day One brought rock band Five for Fighting to the Oncenter in downtown Syracuse, the convention center next door to the Onondaga County War Memorial, home rink for our city’s Syracuse Crunch, and home for the next night’s antics for the best players from the American Hockey League.
Yes, we already were committed to an afternoon of jazz out in Baldwinsville. We’ll leave a bit early for the rock/hockey party, we figured.
Alas, we had to walk up to the concession stand and buy orders of chicken tenders and a side of fries to split when we arrived. No free food at the VIP party.
After we finished our $22 meal (with two bottles of water) we turned to the band, aptly-named-for-a-hockey-bash. We both remembered Five for Fighting, particularly for its 2004 hit 100 Years.
Then the band played the song straight.
I caught a portion with my iPhone 6.
Front man John Ondrasik kept the crowd comfortable, the friendly Californian even stripping down that hit to play a name-a-hockey-player game to draw fans around the stage into the spirit of the sport.
Crunch owner Howard Dolgon, always up for a challenge for his franchise, made sure exhibits were set up to do the same.
Hover over either gallery photo for a description. Click on either image for an enlarged slide show.
I enjoyed seeing the original seating from the War Memorial, with the placard reminding fans that Paul Newman’s Classic hockey comedy, Slapshot, used the old barn for filming.
And Crunch players sure have worn many different jerseys as they’ve skated with ties to the Vancouver Canucks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Anaheim Ducks and now Tampa Bay Lightning through their three decades as an AHL franchise.
Have you ever attended a VIP party, and if so, what was the occasion? Our tickets were free, but if you bought a $50 ticket that said VIP, would you expect some food included? Which jersey in this post do you like best, and why?