They say that blood bounces on ice. Who "they" are and how they know this might have to do with a crowbar, a gambling debt and the woods outside Chicago. Or maybe they grew up living and breathing (and bleeding) ice hockey. With the growth of the sport in the past decade, more people -- even in the South -- have had the opportunity to discover such myths, as well as the fact that one player can deke another and then try for a wraparound. If that doesn't sell tickets, what will?Good hockey will. And Houston has had good hockey for the last ten years in the form of the defending American Hockey League Calder Cup champion Aeros. Though the team's been anemic during the first quarter of the season, the players still have some pluck. This weekend, they face their division rival, the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks, the lackluster farm team of Uncle Disney's Anaheim namesake. Worth a trip to Toyota Center to see if Duck blood bounces -- or to find out why Cincinnati is considered a "West" Division team. Casual fans might also be interested in knowing that the Ducks have a right wing named Pecker. We can't make this up. 7 p.m. Friday, December 5. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. For information and tickets, call 1-866-4HOUTIX or visit www.houstontoyotacenter.com. $11 to $55. -- Eric Norvell
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Taking an ice-skating break at the Galleria might be the perfect way to keep your shopping partner from asking for the umpteenth time, "Does my butt look big in this?" But if you prefer your fellow skaters a little more like Mario Lemieux and a little less like teenybopper shoppers, then you need to ditch the mall scene altogether. Head out to Ford Arena, home of the Texas Wildcatters, and skate on the same ice where professional hockey players break each other's knees all season long. And if your shopping partner insists on coming along, try to hold off on the body check. 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, December 7, and Friday nights after Wildcatters home games. 5115 I-10 in Beaumont. For information and additional times, call 409-951-5400 or visit www.fordparktx.com. $5 to $7. -- Keith Plocek