If you were fortunate enough to be at the Danbury Ice Arena For Saturday’s events, you will not soon forget what you saw. For starters, the new home of the Whale exceeded expectations. It is a great rink to watch hockey in, and it is easily accessed with more than ample parking, with plenty of room for Little Future Draft Picks to roam around before and after the game as well.The Whale’s “forever home” as #94 Grace Klienbach has dubbed it, is one we can be proud of.
The atmosphere was electric, and fun, from start to finish. The Girls Try Hockey For Free program prior to the game was a huge success, and a big part of the overall success of the day. It provided a lot of “Kodak moments” to be sure, and truly underscored the player’s mantra that “ It’s why we do what we do.” If you saw Commissioner Dani Rylan at any point during the afternoon, her smile and demeanor reflected exactly how amazing the day was. And the look on the faces of the Little Future Draft Picks, whether during the clinic, during the game, or during the autograph session, was worth the price of admission alone.
And the game itself was fantastic. The legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once told the Green Bay Packers “We will strive to be perfect this season. And we will fail. But by striving to be perfect, we will achieve excellence.” Well, the Pod wasn’t perfect out on the ice Saturday, but they were excellent. We have said before that our Whale are the most exciting team in hockey. That remained true in Game One, but something else was true too, and it is simply this. Taking nothing away from a talented and victorious Beauts team, the Whale were the best team on the ice in Danbury. On this day, not only were there a “lot of great take-always” “real positives” and “things to build on”(which of course there were) but there was something more. The excellence.
The stats are part of the story, but as our former #92 Katka Mrazova said ”Stats are like bikinis. They show a lot but not everything.” So we are juiced by the dominance the Pod showed in stats like shots on goal or the nine blocks, recorded by our defense alone. We can get excited about Grace scoring the first goal in a Whale season for the second time in her career (assists now given to #14 Elena Orlando & #24 Sarah Hughson) or about extended stretches when no one picked up a loose puck unless they were wearing a Whale sweater.
But there was something more. The most exciting team in hockey just looked like quicksilver on ice, and fans took note. It not only was exciting, it was game planned, coached and implemented with attitude.. The end result of that was excellence. That is what we saw on the ice Saturday from the Whale. All of the fans in Cetacean Nation knew this would be an exciting team, now we know, and so do the Pod, that they are an excellent team. Bad teams don’t win. Sometimes even good teams don’t win. Excellent teams generally do over the course of the season. The season has started, the team has plotted that course, and Cetacean Nation thinks it will be a most excellent adventure. Fins Up!
BITS AND PIECES
The new Whale jerseys are an instant classic! Every bit as awesome as they seemed in pictures, and even more so in person!
Something else you might have noticed at the rink was Pucky, the green Whale mascot. It is unclear if the amazing and unexpected Pucky was there on a mascot PTO, or will be a permanent part of the Pod. We will keep you posted.🐳
Among the many cool things at Danbury Ice Arena.,we loved the Zamboni, and found out It even has a name: Danboni the Zamboni!
Wearing sweater #2 Maddie Evangelous had a strong game on wing, and we would be surprised if she is not offered a permanent roster spot with Bray’s Bunch. She, along with our other two rookie forwards #7 Jane Morrisette and #15 Emma Vlasic, all took regular shifts and played with energy and veteran savvy.
We were without #3 Kayla Meneghin, who also coaches at St. Anselm’s. She will be back and will be a key performer moving forward, just as she was last season..
Our #26 Jordan Brickner made a truly rare visit to Whale Jail Saturday. She entered the game with only eight PIM over four years in the league.More significant however she skated like she had jets on her skates on several rushes!
In addition, all of our young veterans, the nine returning players who suited up and our two experienced first year players, all showed great quickness, and used that quickness to backcheck and to go into the corners as well as attack.
And last but not least, Laura Brennan ran the show behind the bench again today, and did a fantastic job. And she dressed all three of our amazing rookie goaltenders! Sojo (and Sonjia played a terrific game) got the start but Wojo & Cujo we’re dressed and on the bench. Laura’s intention is to try to keep that trio in uniform for each game, which is so perfect. Extra Fins Up to Laura for that!