Friday, October 19, 2012

Opening Night - Simulated - At the R-Bar

The Arch City Army Brings Their MoJo to Opening Night at the R-Bar
Ok.  This was not pre-planned as part of the DBJ thing.  SOMEONE did a bunch of planning.  It wasn't us.  This was me, and a couple of fellow season ticket holders, including my buddies Bill and Bruce, jonesing bad for hockey, and choosing to show up a the R-Bar to talk it out over a few adult beverages.  The Arch City Army made a big showing, and all of a sudden we were in the midst of something much bigger.

We got handed a program, which pretty much made a coherent link between Stinger-bombs and the rationality of the event, and realized we would be looking at a simulated EA Sports NHL 13 simulation of the former opening game between our beloved CBJ and the Vancouver Canucks.  So we start tossing back ABs (Adult Beverages) and trying to get our minds focused on the CBA talks between the NHLPA and the NHL. Then Leo shows up.

Yes indeed, Leo Welsh, the CBJ anthem singer showed up at the R-Bar to sing the National Anthem and O Canada, along with the enthusiastic accompaniment of the R-Bar denizens.  And then the simulated game started.

As a long time CBJ season ticket holder, I can't really say that I was shocked that the Vancouver Canucks, our formerly scheduled opening night opponent and currently simulated opponent, jumped out to a 2-0 lead.  Oh yes, I've seen THIS before!  But, the simulated CBJ, with Bobrovsky in goal, battled back to a tie.  With appropriately scheduled TV timeouts, which allowed me to repair to the rest room and 'commit to the Indian' time and again, the simulated game progressed in a very entertaining fashion, with plenty of cheers, and groans, as befitting the home team's success.

Long about the third period, something momentous happened.  The 'boys' showed up.  That's right.  Jeff Rimer, Bill Davidge, and George Matthews all came to participate in the camaraderie of the night.  It was great having them in the bar that night.  But then the treat started.  From their well deserved perch at the bar, George Matthews and Bill Davidge proceeded to call the simulated game.  For yours truly this was a blast from the past back to old radio days.  Additionally, there are certain freedoms that happen when one is not subject to FCC regs on over the air broadcasts, and George and Bill took perfect advantage of the liberties to give an exciting and heartfelt call to the simulated game, supported by raucous cheering of the patrons.

Finally though, the simulated game ended with Vancouver scoring a soft goal from the blueline when the defender fails to aggressively play the puck holder. In something we may see all too often in 2012-13 (if played) the CBJ cough up a late goal to allow them to lose to Vancouver.  This is something we need to embrace as season ticket holders, as it seems our defense will be perfectly capable of allowing these goals.

And thus, suddenly it was over.  From Leo singing the anthem to Bill Davidge pondering the wisdom of certain neutral ice play, an insanely good time was had by all.  Huge kudos to the folks that planned the gig.  And from this old hockey fan, thanks Bill and George for showing up to call the game.  It was really special and highly enjoyed.  Best of luck to you both.



  1. The idea of the simulation came from a discussion a number of Jacket Backers had at last Sunday's "Battle of Ohio" event. We wanted to get together with more of our hockey friends and show our support. We have missed seeing each other, and most of us have had Opening Night blocked out on our calendar since schedule release. So we decided we'd get together and pregame and thought it would be awesome if we could at least watch a simulation of what should have been. We spoke with the broadcasters that were at the event on Sunday and they liked the idea; then we thought... Wow, let's get Leo to sing the anthem! We talked with Mike and Natalie of the R Bar and they ran with the idea, worked out the details and contacted Leo. The news of a negotiation and the rumor of a swift end to the lockout slowed down our promotion of the event. Thanks to JB member Blue Haired Guy for setting up the game and providing the game programs - awesome job! Thanks to "R Bar Arena" announcer Mike Darr and the JB club for providing the giveaways between periods. Thanks to Natalie and Mike at the R Bar for hosting us and all the JB members who spent time in planning to make this work! Thanks to all of the fans in attendance for making it a blast!

    1. And a totally awesome job done by everyone. It was an amazingly fun night!


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