From wiener dog races and flying teddy bears to high-speed hockey action, you can find family-friendly fun at The Hangar with the Pensacola Ice Flyers.
I went to the wiener dog races and a hockey game broke out. And sometimes, during hockey, it rains teddy bears, too.
Around here, hockey nights go beyond the high-speed sliding and bashing we are used to seeing. There’s so much more on the ice and beyond. Down here, we do hockey right.
You probably don’t associate professional hockey with the home of sugar-white sand and salty warm Gulf breezes. Yet, the Pensacola Ice Flyers have called the Gulf Coast home since 2009. Drawing a loyal fan base from all around the region, Ice Flyer games are an exciting event for all ages with theme nights and meet-and-greets.
And around here, we do hockey our way. So yes, on any given game day, you might watch a pack of wiener dogs flopping across center ice in a race for treats. Or you could bump into Darth Vader and his Storm Troopers at the concession stand, or notice the players wearing special edition Star Wars jerseys. Or, in March, you can buy a T-Rex costume for the Dino races and try flopping around on the ice for yourself.
The Ice Flyers’ name has a double meaning too — it’s both a tribute to Pensacola’s heritage in Naval Aviation, as the home of the Blue Angels and National Naval Aviation Museum, and an homage to original owner Tim Kerr who played eleven seasons with the National Hockey League’s Philadelphia Flyers.
Calling their home “The Hangar” (aka The Pensacola Bay Center) the Ice Flyers are one of the top teams in the Southern Professional Hockey League and continually rank in the top three in attendance. Their four championships are tied for the most championships in league history. Not bad for Southerners, ay?
Between November and March, the Ice Flyers play 28 home games at The Hangar. Their rivals include the Huntsville Havoc, Birmingham Bulls and the Macon Mayhem.
Plan when you will attend the next Ice Flyers Hockey game.
And besides the thrills and chills — and watching the ritualistic players dropping their gloves to brawl and subsequently chill in the Penalty Box, there’s entertainment for everyone.
For every home game, there’s a theme night with family-friendly fun. The holiday season sees the Teddy Bear Drop — when dozens of stuffed animals are tossed onto the ice after a goal — with their destination as a donation to local charities. There’s a Peanuts Night in December, with the team wearing and auctioning off “Peanuts” game jerseys. In January, the ever-popular Wiener Dog Race Night is on tap — it’s quite a spectacle. Fans can enter their pups for the races!
One of the newest additions to the Ice Flyers theme lineup is Dino Race Night, which takes place in late March. Fans who purchase a T-Rex costume can take to the ice during the intermissions to test their icy Dino racing skills. Game nights are always family-friendly and there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. But if you want to get close to the action, try getting down by the ice in the curved sections behind the goals. You can see the full-speed action and collisions up close and personal. And, of course, it’s great seats to watch the wiener dog races! There’s plenty of photo ops as well —with the players and with Maverick, the Ice Flyers skating mascot. Ticket options are just about endless, with options for group discounts or even the party deck — dubbed the Flight Deck. Single-game tickets may be purchased from the Pensacola Bay Center Box Office in-person or online at Ticketmaster.com.
Watching all those hockey players gracefully glide across the ice and occasionally smash each other into the plexiglass might make you want to try it yourself. Well, you can! (Except for the smashing part.) From October through April, the Pensacola Bay Center hosts hour-long public ice skating sessions. Sessions typically occur on weekends and after Ice Flyers home games. Capacity is limited, so get your tickets here and get them early!