Skipjacks employees, fans asked to get in on action Several receive call to work as officials


Because of inclement weather, the Skipjacks' Baltimore Arena staff was as sparse as the crowd at yesterday's game.

Seven of the usual 12-person crew of off-ice officials were unable make it to the game, which led to an interesting afternoon for some Skipjacks employees and fans.

Each team's penalty box was manned by would-be spectators who were pulled from their seats by Skipjacks officials.

Wayne Wright, who owns Center Ice Sports, a hockey equipment store in Potomac, and has officiated in the East Coast Hockey League, was asked to be the attendant for Providence's box. Fred Ganczar, who works as an off-ice official at the Providence Civic Center, worked the Skipjacks' box.

"We knew they had a knowledge of the game, so we figured they'd be as good as anyone," said Margaret Robinson, director of public relations for the Skipjacks.

Matt Hodges, marketing director for the Skipjacks, was forced into the role of public address announcer. Hodges, who has announced for the Richmond Renegades of the ECHL, was filling in for Gary St. Ours.

The crowd of 290 was made up mostly of hard-core Skipjacks fans.

"When I got up today I heard on [local radio station] 98 Rock that everything in the city was called off except the Skipjacks," said Julie Gaines of Dundalk, who has owned season tickets for seven years with her husband, Tim. "So, I said, 'If they're going to play, then we're going to come down and watch.' "

It was business as usual for James Paul of South Baltimore.

"The power went off in our house, so we didn't have anything better to do," said Paul, who walked to the game with his father, Robert. "I walk to all the games anyway, so it wasn't so bad. It wasn't even that cold out."

Not all the fans at the Arena were regulars, however.

"I wanted to come out to see [the Skipjacks] in case they're not here next year," said Bob Ross of Ellicott City, who was taking his 12-year-old son, Robert, to his first Skipjacks game. "The driving wasn't that bad. The hardest part was just getting out of our neighborhood."

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