Thunder Road

The flash of lightning lights up the night sky and the roar of thunder follows several seconds later letting me know that the action is a safe distance away. The loud crack of thunder arriving with the bright flash of light lets me know that I was premature in my assessment. The roar of thunder that shakes the house and the loud crack of thunder that sharply announces you are at the epicenter of the storm. There are few things on this planet scarier than a thunderstorm up close.

The Stockton Thunder is a minor league hockey team playing in the ECHL. The team is the double-A affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers of the NHL and the Springfield Falcons of the AHL. The team is in its fifth year of operation and still has a small town feel to the operation. I live 130 miles south in Fresno and was a fan of the now defunct Fresno Falcons that competed in ECHL until December 22, 2008. The former coach of the Falcons is now the coach of the Thunder.

I am a sports junkie and a minor league sports fan. I enjoy the small town minor league teams and I have a true appreciation of guys playing the game for the love of the game. I know many of the players do not have the talent or ability to ever make it in the sport. I know that some players are trying to hang on to former glory and are far past their prime. I enjoy watching them out there competing and giving it their all. I can spend less than $20 and watch a game and enjoy an evening of entertainment. Small town minor league sports are built around communities and rely on community support to survive.

On February 9, the Stockton Thunder is hosting a charity poker tournament. A close friend of mine invited me to come up to Stockton and play in the tournament. The tournament is a $100 buy-in and you get a hat, T-Shirt, snacks, non-alcoholic drinks, a meet and greet with the team and ten tickets to a hockey game. There will be a player from the team at every table. There are no cash prizes in this tournament. Prizes are games in the luxury suite, signed jersey, zamboni ride and other game related activities. Keep in mind this is minor league hockey and they do not play for the money. I am playing the tournament for the love of the game and to support minor league hockey. I will hang out with my friend and play poker all night with a bunch of young guys chasing a hockey dream.

Make no mistake; I will be playing to win the tournament. I am signed up and will be there playing and if you happen to be in the area give the Stockton Thunder a call and see about signing up for this tournament. This is a good cause and something local that we can support.

Keep in touch because when I win the tournament I will need to find 22 friends to go to a minor league hockey game in Stockton. Even if I do not win I will need ten friends to attend the game on March 5.

I never imagined the road to the World Series of Poker would take me through Stockton and minor league hockey but here I am on my way to another tune up tournament.


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2 Responses to “Thunder Road”

  1. Terry Westrick Says:

    Why did you not come and see me when you were in town.
    Betty was in, and said you were in town.

    • victorshaw Says:

      Hey Terry,

      No real excuse. I am sorry I didn’t swing by to see you. Hope all is well with you and Mary. I will try to get back up to Crescent City more often and next time I will swing by to see you guys. You can email me at that is my work email and I will keep in touch and we can plan for my visit. See you soon.

      Surprised to see you reading my blog. Not sure how you found it, but glad you took a look at it.


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