After seeing a sloppy 9-8 Jets win over the Flyers on Thursday night, thanks to a tip from Reading Royals reporter Candice Monhollan, I decided to send myself to the minors. Last night’s ECHL game featured the Trenton Titans (Flyers’ affiliate) hosting the Royals (Bruins/Maple Leafs’ affiliates).
There were no TV timeouts, no in-game advertisements, just straight hockey. At one time the play reminded me of a men’s league game at a local rink. Obviously, these guys are professionals, but there were no lengthy stoppages. The whistle would blow and the players would be lined up, ready for the next faceoff.
The pace of the game was unbelievable, with all of the players constantly hustling on every shift. They know they can’t take a shift off or they might ruin their chances at moving up to the next level. Most players at this level aren’t high NHL draft picks, so they have to impress to advance. It was a nice change of pace from the NHL game I’m used to watching. These guys aren’t playing for money, making at most $525 per week. They play for the love of the game and a glimmer of hope to make it to the NHL.