For each of the last several seasons the Bridgeport Sound Tigers have played an early November matinee promoted as ‘Cool Fun – 101’. With the generous support of People’s United Bank, which purchases thousands of tickets for the less fortunate, school children from around the area descend on the Webster Bank Arena for an 11 am game of hockey. (The success of this autumn ritual has resulted in a spring sequel dubbed ‘Spring Fun- 102’ held in early April.)
Many of the children scheduled to attend this years’ autumn offering could not attend as the entire region was dealing with the effects of Hurricane Sandy. Among those schools unable to attend were Newtown High School and Sandy Hook Elementary School, regular participants and members of the Sound Tigers extended ‘family’. Sadly, twenty young innocents and six of their teachers will never have that opportunity again.
The first annual ‘Suite Seat Competition’, sponsored by The Checking Line – Isles Edition was a huge success at every level. Any time you can make a six-year old happy you had a good day and Justin Juliano (whose father Joseph was our Grand Prize Winner) never stopped smiling. An hour before game time and the Webster Bank Arena concourse was already getting crowded as our groups VIP tour began. Artfully led by my personal account rep. Maddie Gillan, we navigated through the crowds to the seldom seen areas of the arena as she explained how they each come together to produce a circus, concert or other of the many events held at the arena. We were there for the game between the Connecticut Whale and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and ended our tour in suite 417, our home for the afternoon.
The Webster Bank Arena is the number one venue for overall family entertainment in all of Southern CT. This keeps a promise made by Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch on April 28,2011. The promise was made at the newly named Webster Bank Arena at an event attended by Charles Wang where Harbor Yard Sports and Entertainment, LLC. Was named as facility manager of the arena.
On that day Sound Tigers President Howard Saffan said, “This sports complex is a jewel that we will showcase with not only exciting hockey games but also attracting first class events year round.”
There are many differences between National League (NHL) and American League (AHL) players. Talent and dedication do not make that list. Perhaps that is why Islanders coach Jack Capuano refers to ‘call-ups’ as American League players and not minor leaguers. It may be because he coached the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, it could be that he himself was successful at the NCAA, ECHL, AHL, and NHL levels. No distinction. When Cappy makes the call to Sound Tigers coach Brent Thompson to fill a need, the Isles will get a talented, dedicated player who fits in seamlessly into the system.
The biggest difference (my opinion) is the fan experience. Parking? Not a problem and free to season ticket holders. Tickets available? Most likely and you can more often than not move to another seat as you wish. Drunken Flyer’s fans in the building? Not in Howard Saffan’s house! Player accessibility? Let’s talk.