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.
Surrounded by roaring crowds of hoops fanatics, the Erie BayHawks shoot for glory during thrilling basketball matches as the official minor-league team of the New York Knicks in the NBA Development League. Head coach Gene Cross manages a roster of young and veteran talent that recently included overnight sensation Jeremy Lin. Buzzers announce the beginning of four quarters' worth of dazzling slam dunks, three-point shots, and Final Jeopardy lightning rounds as players hone their talents in preparation for upcoming games and potential rise to the NBA ranks.
Cheer on the first-place Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, the New York Yankees' Triple-A affiliate and mahjong partners, as they seek to trounce their in-state rivals, the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs. The Yankees get their run support from catcher Jesus Montero, currently batting .327, and incisive pitching from right-hander David Phelps—whose fastball has been known to punch small holes into the space-time continuum—helping him maintain a miniscule 3.19 ERA through 42 innings pitched. Ballgame attendees wash down their hot dog with a 22-ounce Pepsi product (a $6 value) while sporting a new, limited-edition SWBY Yankees T-shirt (an $11 value) and cap (an $18 value) with which to catch foul balls or small meteors from 300-level seats (a $10 value). Stick around after the last out has been recorded for a dazzling postgame display of fireworks.
No matter which sport you choose at Whirlyball Cleveland, you?ll get a side order of adrenaline free of charge. If you?re in the mood for action, laser tag pits teams of players against each other in a friendly war set in an arena complete with dark hiding places and a balcony that?s perfect for sniper shots. Or, if bumper cars are more you?re thing, try whirlyball. During this sport, players race across the floor, attempting to dodge other cars and pass a whiffle ball between them until they can score on a target suspended 10 feet in the air. For a more laid back pursuit, grab your friends and take in a bowling game on the center?s private lanes that have automatic scoring, bumpers, and cosmic bowling available.
Run or Dye is making race running a little more colorful, one major city at a time. This 5K is divided up into four separate courses of varying lengths, each designated by a separate color??which also reflects the color of safe, eco-friendly powered dye the participants get splashed with. At the end of the race, they'll cross into the aptly-named Dye Zone?a polychromatic free-for-all, where fluorescent color is thrown freely from all sides, allowing runners to splash their fellow runners or get colorful revenge on their friends, family members, and any cranky art-history teachers that happen to be walking by.
Unlike some races that rank runners by time, Run or Dye only measures success in color and fun. While the safe-to-eat dyes should wash out of clothing, runners are encouraged to wear things they don't mind getting dirty, preferably in white, gray, or another neutral color to give the dyes maximum visibility.
In 2009, the Cleveland City Stars folded, leaving the Sixth City without a soccer franchise to call its own. Two years later, the group of local soccer supporters known as the 6th City Syndicate finally found a new team to cheer for as AFC Cleveland (its initials: A Fans' Club) joined the National Premier Soccer League, finally bringing the beloved sport back to Cleveland's glacially-formed soccer stadiums. Bolstered by the Syndicate's support, the team surged into the NPSL spotlight in its very first season, winning the first-ever Rust Belt Derby and upsetting the Erie Admirals to claim the Great Lakes Conference championship.