Ever wonder what thousands of thunder sticks wielded by hordes of screaming kids sounds like?
The Hamilton Bulldogs got a taste Wednesday morning at their annual school day game. Students were so loud inside Copps Coliseum that it seemed like the old barn shook.
"Quite honestly, I was speechless," said Stephen Ostaszewicz, Bulldogs president. "As a player, there isn't a better environment to play in."
It was the first professional hockey game for lots of students in the building, said Richard Brooks, a fourth grade teacher at R. A. Riddell Elementary School.
"Having never been to a hockey game before, they don't know the noise level," Brooks yelled over the pandemonium .
Fifth grade student Mary Henry is a big hockey fan, and she proudly came to the game clad in a P. K. Subban Canadiens jersey.
She was too young to see the star Canadiens defenseman when he played for the Bulldogs, but he's still her favourite player, she said.
"This game is even better than what I expected," she said.
The Bulldogs couldn't pull out a win Wednesday morning, dropping to the Rochester Americans 4-1. Joonas Nattinen netted the lone Bulldogs goal late in the third period.
The game got chippy quick, and the two teams managed to rack up 17 penalties. "They won't fight in front of the kids though — that's the funny part," one usher said with a laugh towards the end of the first.
She was quickly proven wrong. Bulldogs defenseman Nathan Beaulieu was sent to the box for fighting Americans left-winger Frederick Roy just before the period's end.
Even though the home team didn't manage a win, it's "great that students can come and watch high level hockey in their own city," said R. A. Riddell physical education teacher Lisa Henry.
R. A. Ridell has a sports academy program attached to the school, and students involved with sports like hockey, figure skating and basketball train at McMaster regularly.
Henry says that aside from the fun students have at a game like this, they also learn important things like strength of character, respect, and the importance of hard work.
"Through sport, and a game like this, character development gets ingrained in our kids."
This was the third year the Bulldogs have hosted the school day game. With the loss, the team dropped to 4-5-1-1 on the season.
Their next game is Friday, Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m. against the Toronto Marlies at Copps Coliseum. Around 5,000 tickets for the game have already been sold.
For more on the Hamilton Bulldogs, visit Hamiltonbulldogs.com.