This lockout's rough, isn't it? There's about absolutely no chance that we will be watching games before the start of the New Year, and barely even more of a chance that we'll see it before next October. Fans really are missing the Blues and NHL-quality hockey, but that doesn't mean that other levels of the sport aren't fun to go to. Hockey is hockey, and it actually is fun to watch prospects develop and young kids try to catch scouts' eyes.
It just so happens that the state of Illinois has quite a few of these minor league hockey teams to watch. The ability levels range all over the place, but with the lockout forcing NHL-caliber young talent into the AHL, you stand a chance of seeing some pretty quality stuff. The state's Office of Tourism would love to give you a chance to go catch a game, and there's no shortage of teams to choose from. Witness the teams:
- Rockford Ice Hogs (NHL Chicago Blackhawks affiliate)
- Peoria Rivermen (NHL St. Louis Blues affiliate)
- Chicago Wolves (NHL Vancouver Canucks affiliate)
- Quad-City Mallards
- Bloomington Blaze
- Danville Dashers
So whether you want to go catch some minor league stuff or some almost major league hockey, you're covered. The Office of Tourism is offering a $50 gas card as well as four tickets to a game of your choice. All you have to do is enter on their Facebook page before midnight tonight, and you could be treated to an evening of puck.