Puckin’ around

Exploring the fascination behind QU's favorite pastime

By on October 23, 2018

With the season off to a three-game winning streak, the Bobcats are getting into the hockey spirit. The 2018-19 hockey season kicked off with a 3-2 win against Vermont on Oct. 13.

Quinnipiac has a strong hockey culture on campus. Whether you know the rules of the game or not, it’s easy to get wrapped up in all the school spirit during the season.

“Everybody, [whether] you don’t watch hockey or if you do, they look forward to the hockey games,” junior entrepreneurship major Armanie DeLeon said. “It’s definitely something that brings the community together. There’s a collective passion for hockey.”

Morgan Tencza | The Quinnipiac Chronicle
Men’s ice hockey is the pride and joy of Quinnipiac. Quinnipiac ranked 20th this year in the NCAA. The energy at the games is invigorating and students often find themselves cheering on a sport that they might have have had any prior knowledge of.

“Its electrifying,” DeLeon said. “It definitely gives you that Division I feel. You go to sporting events and it’s packed out and it’s a great time. We’ve been nationally ranked for many years. I think that’s big in our passion for hockey.”

The hockey team joined the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I in 1998 and the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) in 2005. Quinnipiac secured a spot in the Frozen Four in 2016 for its second time in four years, with its first in 2013.

“Sports are popular in any kind of school whether its a high school setting or a college setting,” junior psychology major Rachel Cohen said. “But I think because the players in these games get drafted to the NHL, people get really excited because the players are actually pretty talented. It’s pretty entertaining.”

Quinnipiac has seen many of its players go into professional hockey. Connor Jones, who graduated in 2014, signed his first NHL contract in 2017 with the New York Islanders. On Dec. 28, 2016, former Bobcat Matthew Peca made his NHL debut with the Tampa Bay Lightning. In 2018, Peca signed a new contract with the Montreal Canadiens.

Collegiate athletics fandom is nothing new. Almost 34 percent of Alabama Facebook users were fans of a college football team, in contrast to the four percent of users in five New England states plus New Jersey and New York, according to the New York Times.

“I feel like because we don’t have a football team and since we are Division I and play against really prestigious schools, I think that makes us seem more competitive and high up,” junior behavioral neuroscience major Sirinithi Raghunathan said.

During hockey games, the People’s United Center arena fills up with hyped-up students eager to watch their team win. Painting the stands navy and gold, fans file in to show support for their fellow Bobcats. Sometimes in outrageous ways.

“The funniest thing I would say [was]seeing guys just taking off their shirts and writing a dudes name or number on their chest,” DeLeon said. “Another thing were kids screaming at the other team was pretty funny.”

Even with no knowledge of the sport, hockey games at Quinnipiac are crucial to the college experience. The rowdiness and morale of the crowd is unlike anything else at the school.

“Whenever people get checked on the side of the rink, people go crazy for that kind of stuff,” Cohen said. “The more aggressive the players are, the more excited the crowd gets.”

Whether it’s the Teletubbies rooting for the players or the pep band’s rendition of “Tequila,” it’s hard not to get swept away in the Bobcat madness.

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