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Each game should be the ‘Yale game’
The Quinnipiac/Yale men’s ice hockey game is always hyped up. Tour guides use it to entice prospective students when they visit the university. Orientation leaders rave about it. Student tickets sell out within minutes. People wait in line for hours before doors even open so they can get a (good) seat. The hashtag #BeatYale even trended on Twitter last year.
Why can’t all games be like this?
Sure, Yale is the school’s big rival. But this is Quinnipiac, home of one of the premier hockey programs in the entire country with one of the top arenas in the Northeast. When the Bobcats have a home game — conference or non-conference, ranked or unranked — those games should sell out.
College hockey is a sport filled with parity. Anything can happen on any given night. E.g.: Quinnipiac, the top-ranked team in last year’s tournament, beat Yale, the No. 15 seed, three times last year, outscoring the Bulldogs 13-3. In the finals: Yale won 4-0. People can make all the predictions they want, but every game has potential to be a memorable one.
Tickets to the general public cost between $13 and $15 in the box office, while student tickets for every game are free. Aka there’s no significant difference (or any for students) between going to a Quinnipiac/Yale game and a Quinnipiac/Dartmouth game (which happens to be this Saturday). People need to take advantage of seeing one of the premier college teams in New England. It starts by looking at the team instead of the opponent.
Duke, for example, is a national basketball powerhouse. When Duke sells out a basketball game, people go to watch the Blue Devils play. When Duke played Elon, a mid-major basketball program, and its big rival in North Carolina, both home games sold out.
I don’t intend to compare Duke basketball to Quinnipiac ice hockey. The point is how attendance is for top teams in the country. Duke basketball fans don’t care who the Blue Devils play. They want to watch their team.
Quinnipiac fans should feel and do the same.
In years past, the home Yale game would be in February, but it was scheduled in November this year. When it was in February, it would typically be one of the last home games of the year. Just because the Yale game has passed doesn’t mean people should not look forward to any hockey games for the rest of the year.
It seems like attendance picks up when the Yale game approaches, and then drops off drastically. In 2010, 4,267 people went to the Quinnipiac/Yale game. The night before, Quinnipiac drew 2,992 people when it played Brown. In 2012, 2,892 went to the Quinnipiac/Brown game, compared to 3,968 people at the Yale game.
Even last year, 4,074 people went to the Quinnipiac/Yale game, and nearly 400 fewer people went to the game vs. Brown the next night. And even though Quinnipiac’s best-of-three playoff series vs. Cornell took place during spring break, the arena drew 3,222 fans in perhaps the game of the year, a double-overtime thriller.
There’s no telling what will happen in each game. There are 13 more men’s ice hockey home games left this year, including two this weekend.
The arena better be filled for all of them.