Fashion Watch: Hershey Bears at the AHL Outdoor Classic

Posted January 7, 2012

First off, let me just say that nobody reading this article has any right to judge the Bears for their debatable cosmetic choices at the AHL Outdoor Classic.  You’d wear warpaint, too, if you saw this coming at you:

Dax, mascot of the Adirondack Phantoms. Quite possibly an irradiated beaver, complete with neon green tail. (All Photos Credit: M. Richter)

Now that the most important piece of news is out of the way, it’s probably time to mention that the Bears scored first (and early! Chris Bourque beat Michael Leighton just 28 seconds into the first period), but lost the game 4-3 to the hosting Adirondack Phantoms all of 52 seconds into overtime.  But back to the warpaint.  Because let’s face it, the best part of the NHL & AHL’s over-hyped outdoor games is watching players act like the giant kids that they occasionally are.

Boys Being Boys:

Despite a concerted (and successful) effort by the on-ice officials to prevent any form of fisticuffs, Captain Boyd Kane still managed to channel his inner-Rambo.


Familiar face Braden Holtby took the more composed approach, choosing to model the specialty jersey of the evening as well as fashionable eye-black while a peon affixed his skate guards.

As both Braden Holtby and Chris Bourque beautifully illustrate, the Bears wore yet another specialty jersey for the Outdoor Classic.  These will be worn again in tonight’s game against Adirondack, and then are due to be auctioned off.  I’m going to go out on a limb and guess Aucoin and Bourque are big earners again, especially since Joel Rechlicz was scratched from the game.

Chris Bourque soaks up the attention as he makes the long trek to the visiting locker room. It's accolades he earned the hard way, nailing down the second star of the game with a point on every Hershey goal: 1G + 2A. He currently leads the league in PPG, and just crossed the 50 point threshold for the season.

It should also be noted that the on-ice officials were beyond such nonsense.  After all, once you put on the stripes, you stop being human.  Or something like that.  I’m sure I remember reading that memo…

Somehow, this game warranted the full 4-man crew. Shocking, eh?

Final  “Notable Notes” of the Evening:

– Tonight’s game utterly obliterated the record for attendance at an AHL game, with the number of tickets sold clocking in at 45,653.  There weren’t quite that many bodies in the stands, but it was still a respectable turnout.

– The weather was perfect: 42F with a light breeze, and zero signs of precipitation.

– No game would be complete without a random guy in a counterfeit Jagr jersey running out onto the field and belly-flopping onto a pile of ice-shavings.  No, seriously.

– Oh, or a shirtless fan in the stands…

According to the fans around him, the gentleman was most definitely a Bears fan.

– Whomever was doing the PA announcements for the game was either severely unprepared or drastically misinformed (my money is on some combination of the two, possibly relating to him not normally calling AHL games and thus having no familiarity with either team.  That is, however, sheer speculation).  For example:

  • The first penalty of the evening was originally announced as being assessed against #20 on the Phantoms, Christian Hanson.  Cue confusion, as not only was Hershey on the Power Play, but we quite like Hanson on our second-or-third line in Chocolate Town.  The correction for that mishap didn’t come until after the second penalty of the night was underway, assessed against Adirondack’s Kevin Marshall.
  • Every goal announced (with the exception of the game-winner) required a correction after-the-fact.
  • Somehow, both Tomas Kundratek and Kyle Greentree‘s names proved to be completely impossible to pronounce.  Doubly disconcerting, given that Greentree is a former Phantom and was featured in their highlight reel during one of the intermissions.

The evening wrapped off with a fireworks display that came very close to the definition “never-ending.”  While not quite as beautiful as a win might have been for the Hershey crowd, it provided a chance to wind down for a few moments before facing the horrors of the parking lots.  All-in-all, not a bad way to go.

One of dozens of fireworks that burst in the sky following the last game to be played on the ice at Citizens Bank Park. Only thing that would have made the display better would have been less Bon Jovi.