Roaming The Rinks

One hockey fan's journey to the arenas of North America

RTR Inside The Glass with Chris Chambers

 
 
 
Roaming The Rinks correspondent Julian Roberts is helping us out a bit, and he had the chance to chat with former Mississippi Surge forward Chris Chambers about his experiences at the different arenas he has played in throughout his career.  It's always fun to hear what players think about the vibe of the arenas they play in from their perspective Inside The Glass.  Here's Julian's interview with Chris Chambers:
 
A true leader in hockey gets the bench and the crowd into the game. True leaders are often captains and fan favorites in the hockey world.  Chris Chambers, who captained Plymouth State University, will go down as a hero in his short professional career.  Chambers began his career with a two game stint at the Cambria County War Memorial in Johnstown, PA.  The rugged forward scored a goal and added an assist in his first professional outing.  The Crofton, Maryland native arrived in Biloxi, Mississippi the following season.  7 goals, 12 assists, and 113 penalty minutes later, Chambers hoisted the Cup in Augusta, Georgia.  Chambers returned to the Mississippi Surge the following season and earned a call up to Bloomington of the CHL.  On a mediocre team, Chambers added four points to this tally and another 36 penalty minutes to go along with the 7 points and 34 penalty minutes he earned on the coast of Mississippi.  His battles with the likes of Tyler Barr and his antics such as dancing to the Hokey Pokey during a stoppage in play made Chambers into somewhat of a cult hero along the the coast.  Captain?  Check.  Fan favorite?  Check.  Chris Chambers was a true leader.  Being a leader, fan favorite, and a a target for opposing fans, Chambers was able to provide great insight on what it's like to be Inside The Glass.

Julian - Chris, before moving to professional hockey, you captained Plymouth State College in NCAA Division III hockey.  Division I hockey is known to have bands and student sections.  Did you see much of that in Division III hockey?

Chris -  Yes, it did.  For me, I feel like it depends on the Division III school.  There are many Division III schools that lack a following.  Fortunately for my school, hockey is the most popular sport on campus.

Julian -  As in most sports, and especially collegiate sports, fans love to interact with signs.  Did you notice any funny signs during your career?

Chris - The best sign I saw in my professional career was when I played in Johnstown (Chiefs).  It was a huge, well-constructed sign with mice (referees) that had glasses on.  To me, that was comical.  The next best one was when I was playing in Mississippi (Surge).  A young lady had a sign that said “Chambers, will you marry me?” with a sign pointing to her friend.

       

Julian - Speaking of fan interaction, as a known tough guy, you spent your fair share of time in the penalty box. Can you recall any interesting moments while serving time?

Chris -  After fighting David Segal in Knoxville (Ice Bears), the fans were so wired that I had at least four beers fly over the glass.  I reeked of beer and I loved every minute of it!  The fans are the absolute best!

Julian - Speaking of great fans, sometimes you had to play in front of less passionate fan bases.  Is there anything you did differently to pump yourself up before going to battle?

Chris - Not really.  In every league I played in, you'd play in front of 2,000 one night and 10,000 the next.  It's really just the same routine; show up at the rink two hours before, get into my gitch, grab a huge water bottle, play sewer ball, and mentally prepare 30 minutes before warm ups.  I learned in juniors that it didn't really matter who you were playing in front of, you just had to play consistently.  Although, playing in front of 10,000 people at Fort Wayne (Komets) was probably the best experience in terms of playing in front of a massive crowd.  There's nothing like 10,000 people chanting your name in a positive or negative way.

Julian - Since you've played in a few different leagues, can you recall any odd arena features, and what was your favorite building(s) to play in?

Chris - The weirdest places I've played in would have to be Knoxville and Dayton (Gems).  Both places have the stands raised way up, so the fans are up close and literally above you.  My favorite building to play in was probably Fort Wayne.  They packed in over 8000 fans a game at the War Memorial.  Another great one was Tulsa.  It was state-of-the-art and really clean.  But, in all honesty, nothing compares to the Mississippi Coast Coliseum.  That is my home and I performed my best there.

Interview conducted by Julian Roberts