A Magical Night in Stockton Arena

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Stockton Heat player #45 Rinat Valiev chasing Ontario Reign player #38 Sam Kurker for the puck during the Harry Potter nights.
Stockton Heat player #45 Rinat Valiev chasing Ontario Reign player #38 Sam Kurker for the puck during the Harry Potter nights.

“Wingardium Leviosa.”

The charm used in the “Harry Potter” franchise to make objects fly or levitate could very well have been in effect at the Stockton Arena on Nov. 30 — but it wasn’t wands making things fly. It was hockey sticks.

On Saturday, Stockton’s Heat played against the Ontario Reign in a Harry Potter-themed game, winning 4 to 2.

The sounds of skates on ice, the pounding on plastic by the fans and players, the banging of the drums, and the screaming fans filled the Arena.

The arena was filled of people in either costumes or team jerseys some greeting each other like old friends, food courts towards the front entrance and mats laid towards the back entrance. I was very open for the crowd making it so people were comfortable.

“Let’s go Stockton! Let’s go Stockton! Let’s go Stockton!,” shouted the crowd of loyal fans who came to cheer the team on — but so did Harry Potter fans.

“I am for this Harry Potter night. This is the first time we ever done it. I grew up with Harry Potter. I used to go to Barnes and Noble for the midnight release of the new books so it’s just so cool that we are doing that and then seeing all the kids dressed up like witches and wizards with their little wands has been awesome,” said Rachel Kisker, in charge of Heat 365 membership.

The  Espinoza family enjoying the Harry Potter theme night at the Stockton Arena.
Tom Hawkins and his fluffy companion Barry Owlen.

Being true to the Harry Potter theme, a sock drive took place for charities in need for socks. Everyone loves a good pair of fluffy socks in these cold nights, and according to Kisker are the most requested item at homeless shelters. The socks will be going to the the United Way, as well as the coats and blankets they had collected in these past months.

After Stockton Heat scores another point, fans threw socks into the rink for the an organization for local homeless shelters on Nov. 30, 2018.
After Stockton Heat scores another point, fans threw socks into the rink for the an organization for local homeless shelters on Nov. 30, 2018.

The event itself featured three owls from the zoo, cheerleaders, karate, and the Tom Hawkins Elementary School.

Most fans had said they would have participated had they known it was Harry Potter theme night but most just enjoyed the game. In true hockey nature a fight broke out which the referees were quick to break up disappointing the fans.

“Let them fight, it’s hockey,” shouted one attendee when referees separated a scuffle.

As games progressed, the players played harder and shoving was constant.

Katie Moier, who worked the event, said she enjoyed theme nights the most because people — whether hockey fans or not — show up.

“We are pulling in people that may have never thought about going to a hockey game and so it really help grow out the sport in just because your getting those people that never thought to give hockey a second thought,” said Moier.