Let’s face it: Professional hockey has seen better days. NHL games are hard to find on TV, and it has fallen far behind football and basketball among younger fans. But if you’ve never been to a game, you’re missing one of the great fan experiences in sports.
Incongruous though it may seem, your Utah Grizzlies play in the East Coast Hockey League—and, in fact, are hovering around the top of the Western Conference’s Mountain Division as of press time. A minor-league affiliate of the NHL’s Calgary Flames this season—think of it as the equivalent of AA-level baseball, to the AHL’s AAA—the team features current leading scorer and one-time Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick Tim Crowder (pictured). As 2011 kicks off, make it a resolution to expand your sports entertainment horizons by catching the Grizzlies against the Victoria Salmon Kings.