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Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

Chris G’s New VGK Weekly Update – 6/29/2020 – Into the Great Wide Open


Somewhere in my late high school years I picked up a bass guitar, my buddy “Jon” taught me some chords, and the sky was the limit.  Next thing we had a grunge band called “Versus” and we were ready to take over the music world.  The school paper said we always played from the heart, we never had a roadie named “Bart,” we made a cassette that didn’t make it anywhere near the charts, and the sky was well beyond the limit.


A few failed garage bands later, me and Jon shifted our focus to tribute acts. Jon was willing to do his best “Billie Joe Armstrong” impression from the group, “Green Day.” Jon is barely five feet tall, so that box was checked.  He was willing to dye his hair black and wear eye makeup. And that, my friends, is how tribute acts start!  I promise there is a segue to hockey coming, bear with me.


2 Minutes With Gawlik
Photo Credit: Quartz

Any successful tribute act must practice. Practice can be tedious. It could take hours to get a ten second part of a song precisely right. I never really cared for practice; being on stage in front of a crowd was always more enjoyable. For me, the practice became a performance if just one or two friends were watching us. I would show a bit more emotion and make sure I did not mess up.

The gigs were so much fun. I have so many memories of playing crowded bars, music venues, and carnivals. It is hard to explain the rush of performing on stage with two or three of your closest friends in front of a large crowd. Most of my memories are a blur, which may have something to do with consuming mass quantities of Southern Comfort. Beyond the liquid encouragement, gigs just fly by. You spend hours, days, or weeks preparing for a set that can be as little as twenty-five minutes.


There is a certain gig that sticks out to me. It was at a small south suburban music venue near Chicago.


We were so pumped, this lovely couple contacted us through Myspace and told us they could not wait to hear us for the first time. Like any other gig, it was a few moments to showtime, and there was not a single person in the venue beyond people that traveled with our band. Not time to panic just yet, it is perfectly normal for crowds to arrive right at showtime. Five minutes before our start, the couple arrived! We were so excited!

To be clear, this couple, these two people, were the only two people that came to see us, but that did not bother us. If someone were there to watch us, we’d put on an amazing (slightly above average) show. Unfortunately, this gig did not have a storybook ending. We got cut after like four or five songs because no one else showed up. To add insult to injury, I tried to do a Rockstar jump onto the drum riser. I lost my footing, fell straight on my back, and took at least two cymbals with me.


The NHL is about to press play on the remainder of the 2019-2020 campaign.


Two hub cities will host each conference. Las Vegas, Chicago, Los Angeles, Edmonton, and Toronto remain in consideration. COVID-19 numbers are on the rise again as cities are slowly starting to return to business as usual. It will not be a surprise if the Stanley Cup is awarded to a fan-less arena.


Photo Credit: NHL

Imagine if the Golden Knights, Blackhawks, Kings, (no, wait, California has been eliminated from the post-season, my bad) Oilers, Maple Leafs, and Canucks had to play games in their home arenas without fans. I feel that would be a significant distraction for the players on these teams.

The home team needs the fans to get loud when they are down with six minutes to play in the third. The home team needs to hear the fans cheer after they kill off a penalty. The road team will not get to listen to the roar from the home crowd after the goalie stacks the pads while making a point-blank save. I am still holding out hope to hear “The Man” by “The Killers” after Fleury or Lehner makes an impossible save.


I have lost count of how many times I have heard the VGK First Star of the game mention the atmosphere at T-Mobile Arena during the post-game interview from the home bench. The emotion and energy that the fans bring are genuine. My concern is, at some point during the game, the players may look around the empty arena and have a deflating feeling. T-Mobile Arena is electric from the moment Knight Time starts. I understand that we are also talking about professional athletes doing a job that they are financially compensated for doing.  However, athletes are also human.


The action on the ice plays five on five or six on six if you count the goalies. However, at times it feels like it is eighteen thousand plus versus the visiting team. VGK playing games at T-Mobile Arena, as a neutral site, will be more challenging than playing in any other neutral site, in my opinion.


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 -Chris G – Franchise Sports Media


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