Until a few weeks ago, I had heard of the Chicago Wolves. And I knew they were a hockey team. But that's about it.
That all changed last Saturday when our family (minus the 2 year-old who stayed home with a babysitter) headed out for our first Chicago Wolves experience. I have to say that this experience promises family fun -- and it really delivers (with a few, minor, persnickety exceptions).
The atmosphere at the Allstate Arena pre-game is seriously fantastic. The Chicago Wolves do a great job of providing plenty o' entertainment to keep everyone happy before the game and between periods. Seriously, you will not believe how much stuff is going on. At the game we attended, local grade school bands were performing in the hallways, at least 1,000 Girl Scouts were celebrating the kick-off of cookie season, and people were meeting dogs that were available for adoption. LOTS going on. But that wasn't all.
The game kicks off with a pretty impressive fireworks show. Just to
clarify -- my husband and I thought it was pretty impressive. Our 6-and-4
year-old kids found it totally, utterly terrifying. There were even some tears.
The noise, and lights, and fire (yes, fire plumes so hot you can feel
them from your seat) were just too much for them. And they weren't
alone. Lots of other kiddos in our vicinity did not particularly enjoy
this pyrotechnic presentation either. My kids asked me no less than 50
times if the fireworks were going to happen again if the Wolves scored. I
wasn't sure of the answer -- and I'm glad we didn't have to find out
(it wasn't the Wolves' finest game).
Although my kids certainly enjoyed watching the hockey game, I think the
real highlight was between periods when "Skates" the Chicago Wolves
mascot threw t-shirts into the audience while music blared through the
area and a mini-blimp dropped coupons for free cookies (I know that is a
confusing sentence, but that was actually what was happening). They
spent the entire intermission smiling from ear to ear and cheering
wildly in an attempt to secure a free t-shirt. Plus, they LOVED seeing the youth hockey teams take the ice for a quick game (which was really fun to watch).
The only other downside of this experience was the food. Now, I am an
admitted food snob. And I certainly understand that we are just talking
about arena food here. But not only was the food kind of yucky, it was
really expensive and the lines at the concession stands were
out-of-control (I am hoping that is the last time in my life I stand in
line behind 100 people for a $6 hot dog). Plus, there wasn't an even
remotely healthy choice any where in sight. So that aspect of the
experience could use some work.
We'd totally go back for another game though (but we'd probably eat at home first). In fact, we might join up
with my brother and his family for a game in February. I think that this
experience is unique in that it truly is fun for adults and kids. You
know how you hear that promised all the time, but it hardly ever turns
out to be true, right? At the Chicago Wolves game, it is.
If this sounds like something your whole family would enjoy, check out the full schedule on the website.
Disclosure: We receive four free tickets to the game.