I was lucky enough to win some passes to a private skate at the Big House tonight (Thanks, Olympia Entertainment. That's the only connection this post has to the Red Wings, so feel free to move along if you're not interested in college hockey.). I made the trek to Ann Arbor with Liz to check out the set-up for the Big Chill. It was amazing. I was already excited for the game on Saturday, but after being there and seeing the set up, I absolutely cannot wait. It's going to be epic in every way imaginable. Seeing the ice surface right smack in the middle of the Big House is surreal. I can't even imagine what it's going to look like when the stadium is full on Saturday.
I got to skate on the ice for about 45 minutes, which is one of the cooler things I've gotten to do. I hadn't skated in over a year, so it was nice to put my skates on and get back out there. There weren't very many people at the skate, so the ice was free and clear and I had a good time. I shot a couple of videos as I was skating, and I have to say that it's pretty impressive that I didn't fall while taking them.
Another highlight was the free Tim Horton's donunts and hot chocolate. I was in the process of determining how many cups of hot chocolate it would be socially acceptable to take on my way out, but they packed it up and I didn't get one for the road. You can see in this picture here how excited I was about the Timbit I was eating:
It was a gorgeous night out there and it even snowed for a few minutes. The word “picturesque” comes to mind. It was very cold, and there was a strong wind coming out of the north. If you're heading out to the game, dress warmly, especially if you find yourself with tickets in the nosebleeds. It gets ridiculously cold up there even when it's not December. I personally plan on showing up looking like I stepped out of “A Christmas Story” based on my experience tonight. Luckily, with over 110,000 people in the Big House, there should be plenty of body heat to go around during the game. I suggest getting to know your seat neighbors. I can pretty much promise that I won't be tweeting from the game because it just isn't worth it to take my gloves off to use my phone.
One of the more surreal aspects of the whole thing was seeing a zamboni drive through the end zone. I've got a thing about zambonis (not that kind of thing), so this fascinated me. I mean, there was a zamboni driving around the field at the Big House. It's not that this was unexpected since there's a hockey rink there at the moment, but...there was a zamboni driving around the field at the Big House. That's not something you see every day.
After the skate, the club teams from UofM and MSU took the ice for a scrimmage. We stuck around for warmups to take some pictures, but didn't stay for the game. I was personally a fan of the Wolverines' goalie who was wearing a ski hat over his helmet. It doesn't take much to become my favorite random, non-Wings goalie (Hi, Jordan Pearce) apparently.
Long story short: if you're a hockey fan in Michigan and you're not jacked for this game, there's something wrong with you. This is going to be epic. GO BLUE.