SIX PACKS ON ICE, COLLEGE HOCKEY EDITION: The Ten Best Student Sections
In the spirit of the college hockey season kicking off it’s second half, I present to you ten of the BEST student sections.
Sorry, ND Hockey, but you guys place dead last. You’re a great student section – really! And the team itself is great, especially with all the work you do in the community. But you guys have GOT to make a bigger presence! You don’t even have an official name, and subsequently, no official Twitter. Come on Fighting Irish, it’s 2014. If you don’t have an official Twitter account, you’re slacking. Even your biggest supporter, Regis has a Twitter. Are you going to be outdone by REEG?
See the Fighting Irish student section in action below.
9. BU Dog Pound (Boston University)
Much like those from Minnesota, Bostonians take their hockey VERY seriously. I mean, REALLY seriously. If you want a little precursor to a Bruins game, check out a Boston College or Boston University game. Better yet, check out the games between any of the following teams: Boston College, Boston University, Harvard & Northeastern. You’re in for a treat (get it? “Treat” – because they’re a Dog Pound?? Okay, joke’s over).
The only reason I’m putting this great hockey program’s student section so low on our list is because I wish that they had a more creative name. Just about any team that has a bulldog as a mascot has named their student section “Dog Pound” or some variation of the sort.
8. The Ice Box (University of Minnesota)
Unlike their counterparts in Duluth, the Gophers have a nice combination of “ice arena” and “penalty box” in this name. While the Bulldogs in Duluth have The Penalty Box as their student section, the Gophers have a much more positive name in The Ice Box. A penalty box is fine, when you’re not the one in it (unless you were standing up for a teammate that was the victim of a cheap shot or you have one of the three blind mice as a ref).
Every time I hear “The Ice Box” I just think of the Omarion song, or the (much better) There For Tomorrow cover of the song. But when you really break down the name, it makes total sense: it’s cold and it’s harsh but it’s also strong, just like a good student section should be. Cheesy songs aside, you can’t go wrong with this student section. After all, Minnesota is the “State of Hockey” here in the States. Check them out on Facebook.
7. Crease Creatures (University of Wisconsin)
Now THIS is what I’m talking about people!! The sport of hockey has so many terms that other sports do not, why not embrace that and incorporate it into the name of your student section? For those of you that do not understand what a “crease” is, well I highly suggest you pick up the hockey dictionary and come back later.
The Wisconsin Badgers have an amazing student section that are planted in the best place: right behind the net. The best student sections make their presence known not only to all the fans sitting in the arena, but also the opposing team. Good work, Creatures.
See the Crease Creatures at work below and follow them on Twitter @CreaseCreatures.
6. Dawg Pound (Ferris State)
While the Crease Creatures of Wisconsin are massive in size, Ferris State’s student section calls a smaller area home. Yes, it’s another “Dog/Dawg Pound” reference to a team with a bulldog as a mascot. However, where this student section lacks in creativity (the basketball student section goes by the same name), they score brownie points for the spelling. Yo dawg, Xzibit would be proud.
Ewigleben Arena is not a large arena by any means. There are certainly student sections on this list that call bigger arenas home. But this is a clear representation of how the student section can make even the smallest arena feel like a mammoth stadium if they’re loud enough.
See the Dawg Pound show their big bark in a small arena work in the video below.
5. Knucklebucks (Ohio State)
As a proud Wolverine, it’s difficult for me to include Ohio State in anything positive. But I have to put my pride aside and give credit where it’s due when I see how passionate this student section is. First, the name is awesome. It’s a wonderful blend of a hockey reference (Knuckle-puck time!) and their mascot, the Buckeyes. THIS is how student sections should be named and you’ll see that trend continue through the rest of this list.
As far as their passion goes, they’re loud and they’re proud. Don’t believe me? Check out this clip the OSUKnucklebucks made below and follow them on Twitter @OSUKnucklebucks.
4. The A-Team (Michigan State)
In the northeast corner of Munn Ice Arena is a sea of green and white. It’s a place no fan of the opposing team dares to go. That area is home to The A-Team, the student section of the Michigan State Spartans. They’re situated in a place of the arena you simple HAVE to look, right underneath the scoreboard. They’re passionate, they’re loud and they have an awesome name. They definitely make sure the opposing team’s goalie knows they’re there.
Is that confetti in that photo? Yes, yes it is. Much like their basketball brothers, The Izzone, The A-Team uses great visuals when the home team scores their first point. See a first-hand view of The A-Team in this video below of a game against rivals, Michigan. You can follow them on Twitter @TheATeam_MSU.
3. Roar Zone (Penn State)
Okay, Sparty.. It was a tough call between 3rd place and 4th place. But that just gives you motivation to be better this season now that the Penn State Nittany Lions are in your conference. The Roar Zone is, simply put, visually impressive. The stands at Pegula Ice Arena in University Park, PA are sky-high. Not only is it impressive to see from the stands, but down on the ice, as a player, it’s downright intimidating. To have that many fans bellowing down on you as you’re waiting for the puck to drop is enough to make any player sweat a little more. Now that they’re in the B1G Ten conference, it’s going to be exciting to see the matchups against teams like Michigan State that are used to such a rowdy environment.
Lastly, the name is perfect. A lion’s roar can be heard up to five miles away, and when you’re in this zone, you’re sure to know it. You can follow them on Twitter @TheRoarZone.
Oh wait, did I mention that they had video of a fan dancing to “Livin’ On A Prayer” go viral?
2. Children of Yost (Michigan)
Even if I weren’t a Michigan Alumna, I would absolutely love this name for a student section. Yost Arena is one of the most beautiful ice arenas in all of college hockey. If you ever visit Ann Arbor, Yost is just a short walk away from The Big House and both are must-see landmarks. Like so many other home ice arenas, Yost was named after a former coach, in this case, legendary football coach Fielding H. Yost.
By naming the student section at Michigan “Children of Yost” it not only pays homage to the history of the arena, but highlights the playfulness of the section. This section can be found at all Michigan “home” games at other arenas such as Joe Louis Arena or – most recently – Comerica Park in Detroit as well.
During the Great Lakes Invitational (known around these parts as the GLI), the student section, along with pep band, is a front-runner for loudest, most boisterous student section during the entire tournament.
Want a peek at why? Check out this video below of one of their best traditions and follow them on Twitter @ChildrenOfYost.
1. Lawson Lunatics (Western Michigan)
Much like Duke basketball’s Cameron Crazies, the Lawson Lunatics line up outside of Lawson Arena in Kalamazoo hours before puck drop. This student section is about 1,400 strong but sound like a million when you’re in the arena. While Western Michigan was my first choice for a higher education, I ended up not being a Bronco. However, I did go to a number of games to see friends play. Sitting next to the Lunatics in the friends and family section was downright intimidating.
How rowdy are the Lawson Lunatics once inside? They’re rowdy enough to have the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics to write an open letter, asking them to censor themselves during home games. The Lawson Lunatics responded:
“While we support the students in maintaining the atmosphere Lawson is known for through chants, language, and humiliating opponent players and fans, we support the University in wanting to get rid of the fancy W. This isn’t about censoring students supporting Western with a hand symbol, it is about a bad joke that isn’t funny. Let’s come together as a section and let go of the W, while still keeping this place the most feared ice for visiting teams. Go Broncos, and Go Lawson Lunatics!” (via Lawson Lunatics Facebook page)
Have I mentioned yet that there are some fierce rivalries within the state of Michigan when it comes to college hockey? Well, in case you didn’t catch it with the video from The A-Team, see how the Lawson Lunatics welcomed the Michigan Wolverines back in January of 2013 by clicking here and follow them on Twitter @Lawson_Lunatics.
So there you have it. Ten of the greatest student sections in college hockey. There are plenty of universities with great student sections that didn’t make the list, mostly because they don’t have an actual “name” like the University of Maine, Boston College, Union College, Cornell University, Bemidji State University and the University of Denver to name a few. This list was made up of teams that have made their presence so well-known, they actually have a name – with the exception of Notre Dame, so get on that guys – and in most cases, even a Twitter. Again, welcome to 2014.
If you’re still in college, I highly suggest you check out your home team’s student section before you graduate. If you’ve already graduated, few things warm your big ol’ alumni heart more than seeing the student section of your alma mater in their full glory. College hockey is a fantastic event to experience, so go out and support the boys that will be in the NHL before you know it.
Follow me on Twitter @KrystleHolleman.
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