The 13th in our 118-part series.
We have praised Continental Airlines Arena in this space before for its utter lack of extraneous entertainment options; there are no bells and whistles, no ice girls, no exploding jumbotrons — it’s just hockey. With one notable exception: Score-O. During the First Intermissions a prize car would emerge from the zamboni gate, the red carpet would be rolled out, three to four lucky fans would get trotted out to center ice, and the CAA ice dudes would hang a plexiglass shield with over one of the goals. The shield had a little hole cut out in its center at ice level, and the three or four lucky fans would each get two attempts to shoot the puck from center ice through the hole. If a fan actually got the puck through the hole, the prize was not the car. The prize was a chance to come back and do it all again at the end of the season in the hopes of winning the car. It was every bit as lame as it sounds. And yet, it was irresistible. People who had, reflexively, gotten up to replenish their snacks at the period’s end would stand frozen in place in the aisles to watch the hypnotic scene unfold. Boos would rain down on every fan’s shot for anyone over the age of 10. Anyone younger than that was cheered heartily. And if a fan — any fan — was able to score, the building would go up. There were more than a few nights where Score-O drew a heartier response than anything that happened during the actual game.