Bobcat bond

Bobcat bond

Max Gomes

Every year, the ice hockey season creates passion and excitement that not only brings students together, but also local residents. Quinnipiac fans are like no other, displaying an unwavering pride that ultimately unites fans and the community as a whole.

And if you go to the games, two people you may have seen around the rink are Jesse Bickford and Mike Canty, two of the Bobcats’ biggest fans.

Bickford, a resident of Wallingford, and Canty, a resident of Meriden, have been attending men’s ice hockey home games for the past 10 seasons.

Growing up, ice hockey was always a passion for both Bickford and Canty. They’ve been fans of the sport for as long as they can remember. The hard hitting and pulsating showdown have the two on the edge of their seats at all times, regardless of the score.

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“We love coming to the games,” Bickford said. “It was my dad’s idea to get us season tickets years ago. The games are always exciting to come watch.”

Bickford enjoys being a fan because you get to meet different types of people of different ages from the local communities.

“It’s a good time for kids and young players to come watch hockey,” Bickford said. “Residents in the area have really done an amazing job of supporting the Bobcats, as they truly are an intangible aspect of attending the games.”

Canty added that he enjoys coming to the games, and that he and Bickford very rarely miss a night of hockey in Hamden.

“We’ve been coming for a lot of years always have a lot of fun,” Canty said.

Just as hockey players are notorious for unusual superstitions, Bickford and Canty have developed their own ritual. They watch every home ice hockey game from their trademark seats, located along the zamboni doors. Every time Quinnipiac plays at the TD Bank Sports Center, you’ll find them wearing Boston Bruins jerseys that have been autographed from current and graduated Bobcat players.

Over the past years, Bickford and Canty have seen the full growth and transformation of what Quinnipiac ice hockey has become, as the Bobcats are now a powerhouse in college hockey. Quinnipiac has won two ECAC regular season championships in the past four years, along with a Frozen Four appearance in 2013.

Not only have they seen the university grow in size, but they witnessed the renovation of the TD Bank Sports Center, which opened in 2007. The building of the Sports Center, moved the Bobcats from the Northford Ice Pavilion to an arena the Quinnipiac fans could call their own.

When at the games, Bickford and Canty always try to be the most passionate fans, encouraging others to get excited and cheer.

Bickford and Canty have made attending the Bobcats’ games a top priority. They even travel to other schools to see Quinnipiac as much as possible.

“We have a great time everytime we go,” Canty said.

The two even traveled to Yale last year, and they plan on going to the Battle of Whitney Avenue again this year.

“We don’t like Yale very much when it comes to hockey,” Canty added. “If the Bobcats don’t win, we’ll be really upset.”

Bickford and Canty both have high expectation for Quinnipiac every single year, and this year is no different. Quinnipiac is 10-0-0 on the season, and currently ranks No. 1 in the PairWise rankings, and No. 3 in the latest USCHO.com poll.

And if you plan on coming to Quinnipiac’s game next Friday, Nov. 20, against Clarkson, you are guaranteed to see Bickford and Canty in the stands – sitting in their usual spot cheering on their beloved Bobcats.