As a hockey fan living in New England, it is virtually impossible not to be a fan of or follow college hockey. After all, Hockey East is arguably THE most competitive conference in Division I college hockey. Since 1993, Hockey East teams have won 7 National Championships (and the last 3 in a row!) Can you say “Domination”?
When I was an undergraduate at Boston University, my winter social life pretty much revolved around the Terriers’ hockey schedule. Hockey game, party on West Campus, recover, rinse, repeat. I sat in Section 8 of the old Walter Brown Arena, where the seating bowl was weirdly elevated so that when I stood up from my 2nd row seats, my head was completely above the board. While definitely unsafe (errant puck to the head, anyone?), it did make for an unimpeded vocal corridor right to the opposing team’s sieve..er…goalie.
Section 8 was especially adept at taunting these poor souls. We had a knack for coming up with very creative insults and epitaphs to hurl at the visitor’s goalie. My personal favorite (coined by some drunk dude in the 4th row) – “Your grandmother doesn’t love you.” Another favorite wast the “Ugly Goalie” chant. [Every time the opposing goalie would take off his mask, our crowd would yell "UGLY GOALIE!" over and over again. Then when he'd put his mask back on, the crowd would cheer "YAY!"]
Effective? You betcha.
On more than one occasion, an opposing goalie would hear one of these jeering affronts and quizzically look to his right. Yeah, that’s right, buddy. We’re talking about you.
The team has since departing the charming Walter Brown and moved into the swanky Agganis Arena. The seats are more comfortable and less precariously situated. Section 8 has morphed into 2 spirited student sections at each end of the ice, but the cheers remain as lively and clever as ever. I’ve been a season ticket holder since my undergraduate years (minus a 4 year stint when I was living in LA) and I don’t think that I will every give up my seats.
College hockey is too special to give them up. Special because you get to see players grow and develop. You see their progression from skinny 4th-line freshman to Hobey Baker finalist to NHL star. College hockey is an imperfect game. The goalie is not going to make every save. The forward is not always going to score on the breakaway. The defensemen is not always going to land that perfectly timed hip check.
But it is because of these imperfections of the college game that make it so enjoyable to watch. You feel like are a part of something just on the brink. You are witness to these players on the edge of the diving board, ready to make the leap into the deep end of the hockey pool.
I, for one, cherish this and it makes me proud to be a college hockey fan.Tags: BU, College Hockey, Hockey East