The National Hockey League began its regular season a few weeks ago. The newest New York Ranger, Brendan Shannahan, scored his 600th goal in the team’s home opener. The following week, the Philadelphia Flyers gave those same Rangers a run for their money when their game went to a 13-round shootout. The Bruins had a tough loss to the Thrashers in Atlanta and the Devils had their home opener against Toronto. Most NHL fans know this, but where are they?
Whether it’s because of the success of Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team, or the shortage of professional hockey fans in general, a lack of support for the NHL is evident around campus.
“Yes, there is definitely a lack of presence of NHL fans,” sophomore Luke Garriton said. “I have very rarely seen hockey on the TVs of any of the rooms I have been in or seen.”
Garriton’s roommate, Matt Dermody, agreed.
“The only place that I feel a presence of the NHL is with a few of my friends who are hockey fanatics,” Dermody said. “I will see an occasional jersey or hat [around campus], but no one follows the NHL that much.”
Campus interviews revealed the favorite team on campus is the New York Rangers, with the Boston Bruins not far behind. But when asked what her favorite hockey team was, sophomore Christina Cimino answered “the Quinnipiac Bobcats.”
“Quinnipiac hockey is the last athletic hope we as a campus have to show some school spirit,” sophomore Vincent Mercandetti said.
QU’s school spirit is evident, especially now that the collegiate hockey season is underway. The Bobcats had a great start, and as usual the busses were packed heading off to the Northford Ice Pavilion to cheer on the team.
Why is it that there seems to be more of a presence of Bobcat hockey fans than NHL fans? Mercandetti explained that a lack of support and fans is found not only on this campus, but in the entire country.
“The NHL is more of a niche sport in the United States and it is probably due to the fact that most of the NHL is not American players. We have no idols in hockey like we do in other sports,” Mercandetti said.
However, hockey does not appear to be a niche sport here at QU. Hockey fans run rampant here, as the majority of students sported the traditional yellow QU Bobcat t-shirts and cheered, “Let’s Go Bobcats!” two weekends ago for the team’s first two home games of the season.
“I love that hockey here is so popular. It definitely seems more popular than the NHL, although I like to keep up with the Flyers,” Cimino said. “QU hockey brings us together as a campus and gives us something to do. It doesn’t hurt that our team is extremely talented and the games are so easily accessible.”
When asked, “What do the names such as Messier, Gretzky, Brodeur and Toivonen have in common?” Quinnipiac student Jamie Kirkland hesitantly responded, “They’re all foreign last names?”
Yet, when asked, “Who are Fisher, Henningson, Sorteberg and Cashman?” Kirkland responded, “Oh! They play hockey here.”