For the past five years, the Ontario Reign have dominated opponents as the ECHL affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets and the 2012 Stanley Cup champions, the Los Angeles Kings. Formerly the Texas Wildcatters, and before that, the Huntington Blizzard, the Reign rose to existence in 2008. And, rather than naming the team the old-fashioned way of letting a raccoon pick random letters from a bag of Scrabble pieces, the newly spawned organization turned to its fans with a name-the-team contest. That contest kicked off what has been a thriving relationship between the Reign and Ontario hockey fans. In fact, the Reign led the ECHL in attendance during their first three seasons. In 2012 and 2013, the team rewarded its loyal fans with back-to-back Pacific Division championships, and in coming seasons, hopes to be a perennial contender for the Kelly Cup.
Hoisting championship trophies and high-stakes competition comes second nature to the Idaho Steelheads. Since joining the ECHL in 2003, the team has qualified for the playoffs every season, and in 2004 and 2007, the team conquered all opponents to take the ECHL Kelly Cup, the league's most prestigious cup other than that coffee mug Wayne Gretzky once touched. An affiliate of the NHL Dallas Stars, their players take to the ice at CenturyLink Arena, where fans routinely fill sections to cheer their team on against Western Conference foes.
The clubhouse at Les Bois Park serves a roster of classic American noshables to patrons wagering on speedy-steed sprints. Diners can safely bet on snacks such as breaded jalapeño poppers deep-fried and crammed with cream cheese ($7). Or bide time pre-race by devouring a basket of beer-battered onion rings ($8) or by using them to engage in a wager-worthy bout of wrist hula-hooping. Beefeaters will find char-broiled satisfaction with a Back Stretch burger slathered with thousand-island dressing and swiss cheese ($9) or a rib-eye steak ($18) hand-cut, grilled to order, and served with a baked potato and a vegetable medley.
“Healthy Bodies. Healthy Minds.” When it comes to their young students, that’s one of the tenets instructors bring to their classes at Bronco Elite Athletics. With classes that cover gymnastics and swimming for development or competition, every child can find a track that suits their abilities and helps their skills bloom. From 9 a.m.–8 p.m., the facility hosts school-age programing that incorporates athletic concepts into arts and other activities, keeping kids busy until it’s time to go home and teach the dog how to do a cartwheel too. Camps and birthday parties offer even more ways for kids to get involved with the facility’s fun gymnastics and swimming programs without making a long-term commitment.
At Flyboard Idaho Water Sport, customers gleefully escape gravity's grip. Certified instructors strap them atop a board equipped with twin jets of water that propel them above the drink or let them jump and dive through the water like dolphins. With practice, fliers can learn to perform tricks as well as hovering in the air.
Entering their 85th season, the Harlem Globetrotters have entertained millions of parents, children, and general basketball admirers with a unique brand of athletic precision and showmanship. For their latest “4 Times the Fun” North American tour, the Globetrotters will add a new 4-point shot spots located 35 feet from the basket, which is 12 feet further than the official three-point line but several thousand miles closer than the prime meridian. See the arch-nemesis Generals try to keep up as the Harlem hardwood sorcerers evade gravity’s oppressive clutches and court clairvoyants distribute unassailable alley-oops. Youngsters can learn about the benefits of teamwork while laughing along with the jovial jocks as they perform classic routines of unconventional passing and sudden transmutations of water into confetti.