Those missing the fast-paced, hard-hitting action of hockey courtesy of the NHL lockout may find a willing antidote this winter within the Phoenix Coyotes' own Glendale Arena. Since landing in the Valley a year ago, professional lacrosse has struck a chord with a small but dedicated group of fans addicted to its unique mix of basketball, soccer and hockey. With season two about to get under way, the local entry is inviting the masses down free of charge to see what they've been missing. Add another sport to your list of addictions when the Arizona Sting faces off against the Minnesota Swarm in their final preseason game on Friday, December 17, at Glendale Arena, 9400 West Maryland. Game time is 7:30 p.m. According to Sting head coach Bob Hamley, the franchise is set to build on a successful first year. "Fans want value for their entertainment dollar, and we believe athletes in the National Lacrosse League provide it in a big way," he says. "The game has everything . . . speed, hitting, scoring and nonstop action. We believe the future is very bright for lacrosse in the Valley."
One might expect the Reindeer Run to involve some kind of protracted race pitting man against animal, but the 8 a.m. event on Sunday, December 19, at Tempe Beach Park, 80 West Rio Salado Parkway, is merely a 5K run and walk cashing in on the holiday season. Since there's no worry of getting conquered by Comet and Cupid, you can run along a "sleigh-measured" 3.5-mile course, with both the top five men and women finishers receiving awards. Santa and his posse will judge a costume contest, and Marine Corps reservists will be collecting new toys for Toys for Tots. See www.lifetimefitness.com to register online for $17, or pay $20 the day of the race.