Like a Pro: Hockey from behind the glass
Published: Monday, February 20, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02
Over the past four years, I have attended somewhere between 60 and 70 UNH men's hockey games at the Whittemore Center, not to mention a handful at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester. I only missed a couple home games a year, if that, and the only game I missed when I was on campus was against Holy Cross my freshmen year. The other games I missed usually happened over breaks or when I was not on campus. UNH hockey is a way of life in Durham and it was a big part of my college career.
From my freshman days of filling a Coke can half full of vodka for the walk from Williamson to the Whitt, arriving just a few minutes before puck drop to eventually becoming a front row fan this season, I've seen a lot of hockey. It was a pleasure this year to help out with The Wildcat Army and I filled with joy during every "I believe" chant, because that was started on my suggestion. I hope that tradition carries on because I would love to have had an impact on the UNH hockey atmosphere.
This past weekend the final home game of the year was played, during which the UNH senior class was honored. Senior Night is for the players, but as a graduating senior I couldn't help but feel slightly emotional as I stood in the student section one last time. I think it means something to all of us who have been there throughout the years. Getting to step on the ice to pick up pucks after "Chuck a Puck" on Senior Night was truly a great experience as a UNH fan. I paused at center ice to gather it all in, the Whitt and its beauty one last time as a student.
I've seen a lot of great games at the Whittemore Center over these last few years. The opening season games against western conference teams like Wisconsin were always entertaining, as well as the Miami-Ohio and Michigan games, but nothing compares with the two game home series against Maine last year. Paul Thompson's last-minute backhander after Maine's Gustav Nyquist missed an empty net was legendary. I'll never forget that game.
Then there was the 5-5 tie against number one-ranked Miami-Ohio a few years ago, which is another game I won't forget. It featured nine second-period goals, five coming from UNH, and it will go down as one of the most entertaining periods I've seen. It was like a crucial round of a heavyweight fight, with the teams trading haymakers and near knockouts for 20 minutes.
This year's game against Northeastern earlier in the season that included the power outages was another great game. With only the student section remaining after three power outages, that game was truly a unique experience. Another game I'll always remember wasn't at the Whitt, but the upset over North Dakota in the NCAA regional, which I took in from my dorm room in Williamson. Last year's tournament upset over Miami-Ohio was another great game.
Over the years I got to see future and current pros and UNH legends such as James van Riemsdyk, Bobby Butler, Brian Foster, Blake Kessel, Paul Thompson, Phil DeSimone, Mike Sislo, Peter LeBlanc, many others and hopefully more from the current roster. Not to mention future NHL stars from the other Hockey East schools. Being a Hockey East fan truly is a great pleasure.
Going to UNH hockey games over the last four years has been amazing and I would like to thank all of the players, the team's staff and my fellow fans.
This has been a tough season for UNH fans, but I think the underclassmen have shown a lot of potential. I'm definitely looking forward to following this team as an alumnus.
To all the seniors: Tyler Scott, Kevin McCarey, Matt Di Girolamo, Damon Kipp, Stevie Moses and Mike Borisenok - thank you. I've never met you guys, but it was great seeing your careers progress these last four seasons. To all the underclassmen, best of luck in the upcoming years and make the most of it. The season is not over yet, and despite the rollercoaster ride it has been, with just one win over UMass next week, UNH will clinch a spot in the Hockey East tournament. After that happens I believe that UNH can make some noise in the Hockey East playoffs and send a higher ranked team home early.
Stay classy, not UMassy,
The New Hampshirite
The New Hampshirite is an anonymous UNH student who entertains much of the campus with his politically incorrect and realistic accounts of student life in Durham. Read his blog at unhblog.com.