Let’s Go, Fayetteville Marksmen!

November 3, 2017

Visit Cumberland County in the spring and summer, and you’ll find the locals out cheering on our Fayetteville SwampDogs and Cape Fear Heroes. In the fall and winter, though, we turn into big hockey fans. This season, we have even more reason to spend our weekends rink-side at the Crown Coliseum, and that’s the debut of our Fayetteville Marksmen—a professional minor league ice hockey team, formerly known as the Fayetteville FireAntz.

hockey

hockey

I confess, Southerners may not all be as die-hard about the game of hockey as our Northern neighbors, but my family and I were front and center at the Marksmen’s home opener game. My take-away from the night was that the debut season of the Marksmen is going to be much more than just a couple of teams battling it out on ice; it’s an entertainment experience that starts before the puck even drops. Here are just a few highlights from our night.

hockey

hockey

Almost everything about the Marksmen, to include the team's name, is an homage to its hometown of Fayetteville, where military roots run deep because of the Fort Bragg military base. The team's camouflage-patterned Zamboni, known as "The Tank," made its big debut during the pre-game festivities, and proved to be a hit. Fans also enjoyed the onsite food trucks, inflatables, climbing wall, obstacle course and other games while tailgating.

hockey

hockey

Perhaps the biggest hit of the event, though, was Marky himself. When the adorable Marksmen mascot showed up on the scene, every child (and even adult) wanted to meet and take a pic with him. Marky is already a celebrity in his own right around town.

hockey

hockey

hockey

The off-ice entertainment kept us just as riled up and excited as the game itself. Between the jumbotron fan-cam and the pumping music, the audience stayed on their feet and dancing quite a bit. This mystery "fan" made his rounds through the coliseum, as well, inciting folks to get rowdy and act a fool for the chance to grab one of the many free t-shirts he was chunking.

hockey

During intermission, some of the on-ice entertainment included watching two teams of folks in bubble balls attempt to stay upright and score a goal. Of course, they spent half the time slamming into each other and rolling around on the ice, delighting especially the smaller fans in the crowd. This cutie-pie with blue-stained lips was one of many who was loving every moment of the game.

hockey

hockey

The Marksmen ended up losing one and winning one during their home opener weekend. Regardless of whether they won or lost, the whole entertainment experience of the game we attended made my family look forward to spending many more nights rink-side with our Marksmen this season. The Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau keeps all the Marksmen's games on the Calendar of Events. Among several other theme nights on the books, be sure to mark your calendar for Military Night on November 4th, Teddy Bear Toss Night on November 24th and Star Wars Night on December 22nd.

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