Meet the mascot

Nick Palma

Boomer the Bobcat is widely recognized throughout the Quinnipiac community. In recent years, people in the Hamden area have gotten to know Boomer. Since the basketball and ice hockey teams have rose to prominence, he has subsequently grown in popularity.

Fans are constantly interacting with Boomer at the games, whether it’s taking pictures together, competing in half-time contests or even seeing themselves dance with him on the scoreboards.

While many admire the character on the outside of the costume, some often wonder who is really beneath the suit. Not just anybody can become Boomer, though. He or she must fulfill a genre of requirements before the job is handed to them.

“Each year we have a work-study position that’s dedicated for Boomer,” Ticketing Manager of TD Bank Sports Center Matthew Calcagni said. “Throughout the summer we’ll get maybe a handful of applicants that are interested. We do host an interview where we follow up with the students when they arrive on campus in the fall.”

The interview process is rather unique, as applicants have to put on the suit and perform to see if they are equitable for the job. Once that is done, Calcagni then looks at their class schedule to see if it works with the events up at the arena.

Being Boomer isn’t necessarily easy. Along with being an outgoing and entertaining person, he is constantly filled with events to attend, some outside of the university’s campus.

Calcagni said that there are about 100 events that Boomer can attend each year, so schedule flexibility and level of interest is a key factor to Boomer’s attributes.

“I’m an athletic training major so it puts a lot of stress with clinical on my time, especially playoff time because we have to start traveling,” One person who dresses as Boomer said. “You just find a way to make everything work. Obviously I’m here for school but this is as important to me, so I’m going to do everything I possibly can to make both these things work, going forward.”

Boomer started during his freshman year he saw the ad online and walked up to the office to apply for the job. It was an unusual way as to how Boomer received the job because Calcagni was intending a meeting at the time.

The only person in the box office at that time was season-ticket holder, Jim Piscitelli. Piscitelli is one of the most interactive ticket holders in the Quinnipiac community and because of that, has made a name for himself around the arena.

“He was talking to me, he went through my phone looking at my girlfriend. He was just a great guy,” Boomer said. “That was basically it, I guess maybe my attitude got me the job, but they needed somebody for that night.”

Calcagni was soon informed about Boomer and handed him the job right away.

If Boomer wants to go out during the ice hockey games, he must also need to know how to skate. Luckily for him, that was just one of many skills he brought to the table.

“We definitely think of that in considering on who we have for the hockey games, so we try to tailor it to their strengths,” Calcagni said.

Boomer has other gametime requirements just as any other athlete would. As much as he interacts with fans in the stands, he cannot express his emotions through words, so the job becomes that more difficult during the games.

“Requirements for Boomer is Boomer cannot talk,” Calcagni said. “He cannot reveal his identity. What we look for is the interaction between Boomer and the fans, the crowd, the youth. The little kids that go to the games, sometimes they’ll watch Boomer more than they’ll watch the game. But we need him to be interactive, have a lot of energy, a lot of spirit.”

Boomer partakes in many of the promotions the arena offers, whether it’s through basketball-shooting contests, sideline cheer or running out with the players during introductions.

“I work at a daycare at home, so my favorite part is the kids,” Boomer said. “You can say when the lights go out and there’s 3,000 screaming people, but just seeing the joy in the kids faces when I walk over to them and playing with the 1- and 2-year-olds. That’s what I do at home. That’s what I want to do in life. So it’s just cool to see them in a different kind of venue and different kind of, obviously, outfit.”

The Boomer outfit has been around for 10 years, but the jersey has changed over time. Now that the basketball program has entered the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, he receives new jerseys with the basketball teams.

“We got three new basketball jerseys, which we actually never had,” Boomer said. “We got a white, gold and blue, so it was really cool to have the exact jersey. They put it in with the team order, so it was cool to walk into the arena one day and have three new uniforms.”

While Boomer has received new uniforms and cheered on all four of the basketball and ice hockey teams, he remains ambitious. As unforgettable this year has been, he plans to make all of his years memorable while at Quinnipiac.

“I love it,” Boomer said. “I think it’s a great job, I get a rush skating out there in front of all those people. I just love doing it. It’s a cool job to have and in 10 years I could say I was the main mascot here for Quinnipiac. And that’s something I’ll always have with me.”