Minor league sporting events are often wonderful experiences. Because the talent level of the teams aren’t as high and they usually don’t have any big, marketable names, teams have to get creative to draw bigger crowds.
You’ll find Star Wars nights and other gimmicks running throughout the season at minor league games, along with fairly regular promos to get people in the door, whether it be cheap tickets or cheap concessions. In any case, being part of a minor league game ops crew requires a certain level of creativity that isn’t necessarily required at a higher level.
On those nights that you don’t have a big promotion, you still need something fun to entertain the people between quarters, innings, or periods. In Atlanta, where the Boston Bruins’ affiliated Gladiators in the ECHL, hockey isn’t a huge draw (see: Flames, Thrashers) but the Gladiators, like so many minor league teams, excel in the game ops department. On Wednesday, they introduced something new to the world of between-period hockey entertainment with a wiener dog race on the ice. It was, as one would expect, chaos.
First off, this is an awful lot of participants. I’m not sure they thought they’d get this solid of a turnout for their call for wiener dogs to race or if this was the plan, but there are more than 20 dogs on the ice. In fact, they apparently had three races with more than 35 dogs!
Secondly, I live in Atlanta and own a dachshund mix and know for a fact that a wiener dog that lives in the South has no idea what to do on ice, so I am not at all surprised to see well over half the field panic and either fall down or turn around and sprint back to the person that let them go initially. Shoutout to the three dogs that took off from the start, but the biggest shoutout goes to the wiener dog that has the wheelchair rig for its back legs scooting around out there. You’re the real MVP.