Oh Hamden, where are you?
An Opinion piece by Jeremy Schilling
Two weekends ago Quinnipiac played two powerhouses of the ECAC, Clarkson and St. Lawrence in men’s hockey action. As some of you will remember, last year I blasted the student section for leaving games early. Now, only 5 home games into the year, I would like to blast the average adult fan.
There were empty seats at the TD Banknorth Sports Center for both of those two games. I find that very troubling. For a hockey team that should get nationally ranked again really soon, I am pretty astounded. This team is nationally recognized now, nationally known, and is fun to watch, no matter what the record, or situation.
Friday night’s crowd was announced at 3,444 – the largest in the short history of “The Bank.” However, only about 2,800 people were actually in seats, or standing by the rails. Saturday night’s crowd was announced at 3,349. And once again only about 2,800 people showed up. Why? Why would about 600 people just choose to not show up?
The answer, in my opinion, lies in perception. The Bobcats came into their Clarkson/SLU weekend at 2-3-1 overall, 0-1-1 in the ECAC. They had barely beaten two opponents that they demolished last year. Meanwhile, coach Rand Pecknold was saying that his players were reading the papers and slacking off. That, in turn, probably caused some of the public to say “Ahh, I’ll just sit around and watch repeats of CSI tonight.”
However behind the headlines, behind the record, shows a team that was improving. It played well against Colgate and Cornell the previous weekend, finally appearing more like the team that almost reached the glory of the big dance last spring. If people actually read into the details, maybe they would have known to show up.
And big, raucous crowds do help. As Senior Forward Jamie Bates told WQAQ’s Seth Rothman Friday night following the victory over Clarkson, “The fans were great tonight…reminds me a lot of last year at the end of the season. It definitely gave us a boost.”
However, he is most likely referring to the student section. Always jam packed, always loud, always boisterous. All the way through the game – start to finish, no stopping. Why the public won’t turn out in full, sold out force is beyond me. Folks, you’re seeing top level NCAA hockey. Skip the repeat of CSI, and come support a team that could be something really special!