Bartl and I’s good colleague, friend of #Condorstown, and voice of the Utah Grizzlies, Adrian Denny, has been on a tweeting binge lately about the food he’s eating, especially desserts. Most of this has come from the Salt Lake Bees minor league baseball team’s press box. He’s even gotten the ECHL Director of Communications Joe Babik tweeting pics of food he’s consuming in press boxes.
This got me thinking. Who has the best road press room cuisine in the ECHL Western Conference? When you only have a PHPA (includes traveling staff in this case) CBA-mandated (read here) $37.00 a day per diem for food (don’t get me wrong I love it and can’t wait to see it go up to $38.00 next year!), a good press room media dinner before the game can be vital to the visiting radio broadcasters enjoyment of a road trip.
Since I went in order of most to least favorite road city last time, I’ll reverse the order this time. Again, I’ll remind you, it’s my blog, and I’ll do what I want.
#7 Las Vegas Wranglers (Las Vegas, Nev. – Orleans Arena) – This is Las Vegas. The mother of all “where did my per diem go?” places. If there was any place where a visiting broadcaster may be looking for a little leg up with a press room meal, it’s here. However, there is no such meal to be found. Concessions are pretty cheap and there is a nice food court though, so it’s not all that bad and granted, they don’t travel a road broadcaster, so it’s not like there’s a tradeoff working in their favor.
#6 Idaho Steelheads (Boise, Idaho – CenturyLink Arena) – I feel bad putting the Steelies here, I really do. You see, there isn’t technically a press room meal, but that’s not to say they don’t treat you like royalty. Voice of the ‘Heads and friend of the blog, Will Hoenike, ensures the visiting radio person gets $12 worth of concession stand coupons. And they have a good variety there too! For a three-in-three, one night was pizza, one night was Mexican, and one night was hot dogs along with…wait for it…tater tots! Potatoes in bite sized form? Can’t go wrong there.
#5 Ontario Reign (Ontario, Calif. – Citizens Business Bank Arena) – You can always bank on good press room cuisine here. They really only get bumped down to the five-spot, because the bus was late (due to the traffic that I talked about here.) and we missed the press room meal on one trip. Luckily they redeemed themselves with a good assortment of pasta, pizza, and even Chick-Fil-A sandwiches for our many other visits. If they had Pepsi instead of lukewarm bottle water, they’d be higher.
#4 Colorado Eagles (Loveland, Col. – Budweiser Events Center) – We went there twice, played four games, and pizza was never on the menu. That’s a solid press room. PR guy JP Puma and staff have a nice room and set up (you can even eat in your radio booth with plenty of space) and always take care of you. There’s good banter with their off-ice officials as well. It’s an environment thing. Salad is offered every time, which is good for radio guys, who let’s face it, aren’t the healthiest of eaters. I recommend going for the lemonade that they serve just outside the room in one of those big beverage dispensers similar to this and a cookie for dessert.
#3 Stockton Thunder (Stockton, Calif. – Stockton Arena) – It may be the worst road trip, but you’ll never be disappointed with the press room cuisine. If pizza is your thing (and in most press rooms it is) then Stockton has the best pizza goodness going. When Bartl says a pizza is good, it’s good. He’s the expert. It doesn’t end there though. The Sons of Thunder have good pastas and even did a barbeque on a few occasions. What got me is they often have a person from the restaurant serving you. That’s great. If you’re going to feed me and I don’t have to scoop the stuff myself, well you can find yourself at number three. Still hate going there though.
#2 Utah Grizzlies (West Valley City, Utah – Maverik (Note the spelling) Center) – One word. Pies. We went there like 43,578 times this year. You’re treated to ice cold Pepsi, an assortment of different noodle varieties, and good sandwiches. But that’s not even scratching the surface of this place. From the off-ice official who keeps trying to get our lineup out of me well before they have to be submitted, to the friendly front office, Utah knows how to make the two hours before a game enjoyable. Oh and did I mention that they give you PIE for dessert? We’re talking apple and strawberry rhubarb here. That’s the cream of the crop in the pie world. That put it over the top for me. Well done, Grizzlies.
#1 Alaska Aces (Anchorage, Alaska – Sullivan Arena) – If you had told me after my first game there that this would be my favorite, I would have said you were crazy. They don’t let you leave the “press room,” which is actually a meal they do for all their season ticket holders and just so happen, let the radio guy eat there too. I like to get mobile with my pre-game food. Don’t necessarily like to eat in one spot. But, then you get to know George with the bowtie who watches the front door like a hawk, learn how to sneak out the side door, and the place grows on you. Then, they go ahead and treat you to sushi for three out of the six games. SUSHI for press room food? That’s unheard of in minor league sports. I figure if the Aces can’t win the Cup this year (ZINNNNNG!), well then at least they can take home the 1st Annual #HoltysBlog for Excellence in Press Room Cuisine Memorial Trophy. Congratulations Aces.
Until next Thursday #Condorstown…
Have an idea for #HoltysBlog? Tweet him @BroadcastHolt or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Ryan Holt a.k.a. ‘Holty’, is the younger half of the Condors broadcast duo, and recently completed his first season in #Condorstown. He hopes that teams unhappy with their standing in this blog won’t spit in his food next season or deny him access to the press room. Follow him on Twitter @BroadcastHolt for random stuff confined to 140 characters.