The Frozen Four is here!
I am a fan of college hockey. I always have been. Before 2003, I was a fan of Maine. I’d cheer a bit, at times, for New Hampshire and Vermont as well. But Maine was the team I cheered for. I even looked at college there, but that didn’t work out.
Then things changed.
In 2002, I graduated from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania. The only college hockey I saw during my time there was Penn State, which wasn’t even NCAA yet. When I looked for a grad school, it came down to two schools – SUNY Albany and Quinnipiac, a private school in Connecticut.
Honestly, it was attractive because it was a one-year master’s program if you pushed it. I liked that. I wanted to get the degree and start working again. When I arrived, I saw a wonderful campus with Division I sports – including hockey.
At that time, though, QU didn’t have its own rink. It played in a nearby town rink. I went to several games throughout the year and some of the other grad students actually shared a house with some of the players, so I had the chance to interact with a few of them.
The Bobcats that year went 22-13-1, losing to Mercyhurst in the conference final, thus missing the NCAA tournament. The year before QU had made the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history.
Since that time, I’ve been a QU fan for obvious reasons. A couple years ago, while watching them at RPI, somebody asked why I cheered for them. I then noted my student loan debt from going there … to make it more understandable.
Each year, I try and see Quinnipiac when they make the Albany swing (Union/RPI). Colgate and Cornell are also close enough trips I could make to see them play. I watch them online or on TV (SNY) when I can and I always watch to see how they are doing.
In 2013, it was a blast watching them make the national final, though the loss to Yale (of all teams) stunk.
Quinnipiac is no longer a secret. The Bobcats spent much of this year as the No. 1 team in the country and have but three losses entering this weekend. The other three teams – Boston College, North Dakota, and Denver – all have a more storied history than Quinnipiac. In fact, the other three have a combined 19 national championships. Quinnipiac has only been Division I for 18 years (if my math is right).
QU opens today (April 7) against Boston College. It’s the first time the two teams will have ever played.
I’m looking forward to the game tonight and will be watching as it unfolds. I would have loved to have gone to Tampa for the weekend, but the funds just weren’t there to be able to make that trip.
It’s a fun time to be a hockey fan, that’s for sure. Hopefully by the end of the weekend, I’ll really be stoked!
Quinnipiac vs. Boston College, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)
North Dakota vs. Denver, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Championship, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
Championship ceremony, follows game (ESPN3)
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