Ice hockey to appease the professional sports activities alternatives on the Savannah Enviornment

Jane Fishman is a lifestyle columnist for the Savannah Morning News.

You don’t grow up in Detroit without attending a Red Wings game. More than once. Always wear something with those red, red wings. The Red Wings play hockey. On ice. With skates and sticks and a black rubber puck that flies over the ice. In a cool place. Sometimes blood flowed on the ice. We liked that very much. We were kids. A game that our slandered, belittled, vilified arena project will host in the west of the city.

Professional minor league hockey? In Savannah? Ridiculous. Be careful, Savannah. Maybe you like it.

Yes, there were other sports teams in Detroit. If you wanted soccer, you had the Lions. I also went bundled up to those games at the old Briggs Stadium before the team’s bigwigs decided downtown Detroit was so sketchy that they had to get the team to the Silverdome in a whiter, presumably safer, Pontiac. In retrospect, not such a good move. Lots of money and a bad roof? Bad combination. 27 years later they moved back to Detroit, this time to Ford Field. Hey it’s Motown. Enter Ford Motor Co. Today, always looking for a quote, Amazon snapped up the empty Silverdome and turned it into a regional distribution center.

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Yes, Detroit had baseball. That’s why you went to Briggs Stadium, before professional sport was swallowed up by corporate interests, before it became expensive and humble. Following the trend, they tore Briggs down to build the chic new Comerica Park. It is named after a bank based in Dallas.

Football was fun, but the season was short. Baseball was a snore. For us, hockey was king. We frozen someone’s back yard to ice skate and play around with fancy hockey moves, or we went to a nearby school where they froze the tennis courts. We’d wrap our hockey sticks with black electrical tape.

On this file photo, a ceremonial first meeting took place on the grounds of the new Savannah Arena.  At the press conference it was announced that Savannah will receive a professional ice hockey team for the ECHL in 2022-23. [Randy Thompson/ Savannah Morning News]

Today the way we played hockey seems dangerous – a flying puck, a wild swing of the stick, stumbling and falling over the ice, no masks, no helmets. Even the professional players did not wear masks. Before the games, my sports-loving and sports-loving dad had a chat with retired Wings players like Ted Lindsay and Goldie Howe, who loved the game enough to show up at the stadium. The players were more approachable back then. You didn’t make that much money.

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Their scarred and scarred faces terrified me. They looked like a crazy road map with dozens of interior streets. The games were fast and electrifying. The sound of ice skates making a sharp turn, the circling, the spinning, the way the ice would shoot up, the referee’s whistle as the puck was dropped to start playing, the choreography of one Well timed pass, the coldness of the arena, the machine known as the zamboni that crawled around smoothing and shaving the ice between periods, the way players zoom in and out of the player box and switch lineups without interrupt the game. I can’t remember a sporting event being more tense. You forgot that the players were moving on ice skates. Do you wear ice skates?

A few years ago I attended a women’s college hockey game in Pittsburgh. The players were so covered in shoulder pads, elbow pads, shin guards, chest guards and headgear that I could not determine their gender. The piece was just as exciting. A sporty friend who lived in Dubai for a while joined a women’s team that trained in a shopping mall ice rink and traveled to other countries.

The Wings played the longest at a venue known as the Olympia before moving to the Joe Louis Arena. Since then – Ka-Ching, Ka-Ching – the team moved to Little Caesars Arena, named after a pizza chain that started in Detroit.

Jane Fishman

Will the Savannah Arena be sponsored? Too early to tell. Will hockey get a following? That too is too early to know. First we have to win over the naysayers, the sourpusses. Before that we need a name, a catchy name. My colleague Mary Landers says it should be called Savannah Skates. I wish I had thought of that. The Savannah Skates. Let him tear it up.

Contact Jane Fishman at or call 912-484-3045. More columns by Jane Fishman can be found at

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