AHL tries to have outdoor game in California, gets rained out


Unfortunately, that’s not what the scene looked like when it came time for puck drop.

The Flames have a matinee today, so we’re taking it light this morning. In the meantime, please enjoy this account of a Stockton Heat season ticket holder who went to the game, only to wait with a handful of other poor souls until the AHL finally realized the amount of rain was going to make outdoor play infeasible.

The backstory here is brief: a friend of mine is a Stockton hockey season ticket holder. She took me to a game once way back when they were the Stockton Thunder; she let me know pretty much the second Kevin Poulin got hurt. And as a season ticket holder, she had tickets to attend the scheduled outdoor game between the Heat and Bakersfield Condors.

The game – which has been rescheduled for tonight at 4:30 p.m. PT – is to take place at Raley Field, about 90 miles outside of Stockton up in Sacramento; a drive that fans are going to have to make again because, well, a hockey game got rained out last night.

And there were signs of trouble well before the initially scheduled 7:30 p.m. PT puck drop. Roughly two hours and change before the game was to begin, the forecast was to be in the 40s (in Fahrenheit) and raining, “which actually is not conducive towards an outside game,” as my friend put it.

Shortly after our initial conversation, she informed me, “It has started to rain.

“I am so concerned. Like it is raining.

“It is pouring rain.”

Upon suggestion of the game being postponed (as I was keeping an eye open for Twitter updates at the time), she responded, “It better be, the ice is flooded. This is ridiculous.

“They really need to cancel this.”

All the while, the game was still scheduled to take place, and was just being pushed back – at this point in time, initially, for half an hour, to 8:00 p.m. PT.


The rain did not let up; the ice remained flooded, and I started getting a couple of pictures.


“Even if the rain stops, there’s no way they’re getting that to be safe. 0/10 outdoor game, would not recommend.”

And yet, the game remained on:


Even though, as my friend and season ticket holder actually present at the outdoor rink said, it had been raining for an hour at that point. And it was still raining, with patrons hiding under the concourse and away from their seats because, like sensible people, they did not want to get wet.

And yet…


“THEY ARE ATTEMPTING TO ZAMBONI THE ICE. THE ICE IS BASICALLY A PUDDLE AT THIS POINT.”

But the game was still on.

“They have a countdown saying it’s going to start in 43 minutes. It is still raining.”

So by this point it’s been raining for like an hour or two, it is still raining, and they are still insisting on playing a hockey game.


“The sad sticks. They would like this game to be called.”

And yet…


“There was a 100% chance of rain at 9 and yet they’re like nah it’s cool,” she said to me.

“They’re never gonna give up,” I replied.

Fortunately, not too long after that, common sense intervened. Someone collected the sad sticks, and then:


Phew.

As for the thrilling conclusion of my friend’s outdoor California game experience: “My toes are bleeding. They got wet and rubbed against each other. So this was a great night.”

They really, really wanted to have that game last night, though. Flying in the face of all common sense, they were pretty determined, drawing out the inevitable conclusion for some time.

Today’s forecast calls for rain in the day but nothing at night, so… hopefully it goes a little better tonight.