COLUMN: Filling The Garden; The Hockey Core
Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 21:02
As the National Anthem rang through the arena, the Boston College student section made their voices heard over the Harvard a cappella group, letting out a roar in reference to the banner that yet waves over center ice as a tribute to last year’s Beanpot champs.
The BC faithful put on quite a show on Monday night in TD Garden. From the get-go, Eagle fans were ready to show their support, starting as long as half an hour before game time as they voiced their approval to anyone on the big screen wearing maroon and gold.
There were highs and lows for the fans on the night—I like to hear something a little more creative than “Harvard sucks,” but it was nice to see the BC students filling up about five times the space that the Harvard contingent did. Yet there was one area in which “Superfans”—I’ll only use the cliche once—can stand for a big improvement.
This improvement is not a clutch game-time play, but rather one that starts hours before the Eagles take the ice, and it’s not limited to the student section alone.
Reliant as I am on the BC bus system, I overhear a lot of conversations. On Fridays and Saturdays, many a strained dialogue is started with the same question: “Are you going to the hockey game later?”
No matter what direction the conversation takes from there—“No, I think I’ll just hit the Mods after,” or, “Yeah, I’m going to get there a couple hours early so I can get a seat right on the glass behind the opponent’s goalie,” someone involved in the conversation will take the opportunity, when it arises, to say how much they like going to hockey games but how they wish they knew more about the sport.
When you buy a Beanpot ticket, there are four games that you gain access to. At two of them, you can expect to see some familiar elements—Milner will make some big saves, Johnny Gaudreau will deke around some defenders, and maybe you’ll even get to see a slightly more unexpected show like that of Quinn Smith on Monday night. Either way, you’re going to see BC hockey.
That’s not to say the games are predictable, but as the season progresses, fans can learn to associate certain plays and styles with certain BC players. For many, that’s the only hockey that they’ll take in during their time at BC and even afterward. They’ll never get the chance to see different styles of the game played out.
At a tournament with such a strong tradition in this hockey town, it’s pretty sad to see the huge number of open seats, both in student sections and in the lower levels of the Garden, that remain unoccupied as the ticket holder chooses only to see his or her team play. I see that as the biggest improvement both students and regular fans could stand to make.
Though there were BC supporters at the earlier BU/Northeastern game, the section didn’t really fill until the Eagles were due to take the ice.
For that Comm Ave. or Newton bus rider starved for a hockey education, their four-game Beanpot tickets open the door to two games at which a BC hockey fan can see two unfamiliar teams, supplementing their undergraduate experience with a chance to gain a greater understanding of the game.
Here is their chance to watch players whose names they don’t know. Here is their chance to remove any preconceived notions of what a BC hockey game looks like and appreciate the game for the sport and the sport alone.
At BC, we’re busy. We have homework, we have late classes, and we have extracurriculars that may make it impossible to attend all four Beanpot games. Yet, you find yourself talking to your friends before the Lowell game this weekend about how you wish you could understand the game a little better, you have a golden opportunity next Monday.
At 4:30 p.m., Harvard and BU will meet in the consolation game. Some “Superfans”—okay, I’ll use it twice—may not think the game is worth their time, but if you mean what you say, if you really want to learn more about the game of hockey, why not catch the D line around then and take in a couple periods of non-BC action?