AND, that's not all -- I was one of three very lucky bloggers to win an overnight stay at a nearby hotel.
So no, my life doesn't suck too much.
As I am suffering under the strain of NHL withdrawl (get your heads out of your asses, guys) this was a welcome outing. The Ontario Reign, at the very least, is, after all, the LA Kings-supported minor league team.
Think of it as "mini hockey." Staples Center caps out at over 18K, CBBA caps out at 11K. The arena is smaller, the teams are less glamorous (although, admittedly, NHL teams are not that glamorous), the suites are less fancy... But it's a good time and I think even a non hockey fan could enjoy themsevles at a game.
The arena is nice, though. And I found it interesting to learn it was paid for, in cash, by the city, at NO COST to the taxpayers. (You go, Ontario!) They've had the biggest acts you can imagine there (everyone from Metallica to Bieber) and I found myself wishing they had MORE acts through there because in a smaller venue like that, you can bet your ass I'd drive out for it. The parking is on the grounds as opposed to Staples where you have to pay a small fortune to park at small, off-site lots managed by morons (sorry, but it's true).
After a very nice tour of the arena, we took over a couple suites where the arena staff had kindly provided some delicious snacks and drinks. I enjoyed the hell out of the game (we won - suck it, Bakersfield - your shooting accuracy was for shit) and save one minor issue where the lights went out in the bathroom while I was using it, it was a great, great time. (And not to worry, they were just on motion censors and I guess I'd kept too still.)
After the game, we went back to the nearby Aloft hotel where we'd met up for carpooling hours before, and where I'd be spending the night. The hotel graciously provided us all with a couple free cocktails (HELL YES!) and I really enjoyed the setting. The hotel is super cute. Very boutique-y, I guess you'd say.
My room was okay. I guess there's a big trend right now in hotel space -- hotels that are business traveler friendly wth capsule-like rooms, minimally spaced with lots of built-into-the-walls amenities to save space (I've stayed at similar places for business trips). I felt a little claustrophobic; especially when they had to move me from a pool-view room to a parking-lot-view room (so I closed my curtains) and I'm afraid the bed left me with a killer backache for a couple days.
But that's all subjective stuff - I know I am kind of a snob - so I am willing to bet most people would LOVE the hotel. And like I said, the overall vibe was very cool. I wish I'd brought my bathing suit -- I thought the saltwater pool looked awesome. They had a pool table in the lobby, and all-night snack station, free WiFi... Lots of very cool amenities and some trendy looking accessories.
Something else you really wanna check out that I made a note to myself to mention, AXS.com. If you live in Souther California, AXS is AEG Entertainment's answer to everything that is awful abotu ticketmaster. And soon it will have a linear cable network so I'm a fan. I love multimedia ventures.
A very, very special thanks to Sue Oxarart, Marketing Director for the CBB Arena and our tour guide; Justin Kemp, the Ontario Reign's President; the Ontario Visitor's Bureau; and blogger Su Pak of IEShineOn, who orechestrated this whole, amazing experience. She's kind of a big deal, you guys. And frankly, I had no idea the Inland Empire was so awesome so big ups to her and her blog's mission (Victoria Gardens! Amazing!). There's plenty of nice stuff going on out there and I totally blame Kevin and Bean for any ill-will I previously directed at them. (For non-LA'ers, K&B are morning radio hosts who hate on the IE for funsies.)
Yay hockey! If the NHL isn't back soon, you'll see me at plenty more ECHL games.