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Thanksgiving Weekend, 2006

Day One Wed, 11/22 Rio Rancho
Day Two Thurs, 11/23 Prescott Valley
Day Three Fri, 11/24 Prescott Valley
Day Four Sat, 11/25 Phoenix
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Day One, Rio Rancho

I left early in the am and headed south to NM. I-25 S the whole way. I passed some cars but mostly they passed me. I was content with going the speed limit (75 mph). I arrived at hotel around 2 pm. Got directions to the arena and headed out to find it and get a ticket. Sure glad I did that. Missed many turns and had to back track quite a few times. I would not have found it in the dark.

New Mexico Scorpions
Rio Rancho, NM
Santa Ana Star Center

This arena is brand new this year and is in the middle of nowhere. It appears it is the first building to be constructed in a new complex in the Santa Ana area. I heard a hotel was going to be built, as well as other facilities for an entertainment area. In the mean time, plan on driving through and around road and building construction.

One could walk around the outside of the building 3/4's of the way. The intent is to allow a walkway around the entire facility once construction is complete. One different feature I noticed was the windows looking into the arena were full length, allowing gawkers (like me) to see what the concourse looked like before getting into the arena. That was an admirable design feature of this arena. I was able to scope out eating kiosks, rest rooms, and seating sections before I even got into the building.

The Santa Ana Star Center seats about 6,000 for hockey. One level has maybe 20 or so rows; the second level has the luxury boxes, as shown below. Sections were clearly marked. The concourse was cement making it a bit drab. Had a great bbq sandwich at one of the kiosks. I thought tickets prices were rather high for minor league hockey but they were the same at the next arena I went to on this trip. Here's the entranceway. One could park for free

Above is the starting face-off at the game I went to here. Odessa Jackolopes vs. New Mexico Scorpions. The Scorpions won in overtime 3 - 2.

A few things about the CHL and the game I went to in Rio Rancho.

The CHL allows one time-out for each team for each period. That is different than the NHL or ECHL where each team is allowed one time-out per game.

There was not one fight in this game I went to. I found that refreshing. I think I'm one of the few hockey fans who doesn't like the fighting.

The scoreboard went out for almost two periods. The announcer did an excellent job of calling the time remaining in the period as well as penalties, penalty times, goals, assists, etc.

The zamboni driver wore a suit and tie.

Game Notes (which included both teams' roster list) could be purchased for $1.

There was one between period entertainment that I had not seen before. I called it gerbil racing. A person was in a big clear ball and had to run (in it) to the opposite blue line and back. First one back won the race.

After the game, I headed back to the hotel. I didn't get lost.

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