Crazy Bobcats a class(less) act

A. J. Atchue

Quinnipiac’s long-awaited new TD Banknorth Sports Center recently opened with much fanfare and success. However, the opening of the state-of-the-art facility appears to have arrived with a cost greater than the price to build it – an increase in dumb behavior by some of the student fans.

There is no doubt that the sports center, with an estimated capacity of 3,500 each for hockey and basketball, is a major upgrade over the Northford Ice Pavilion or Quinnipiac’s gym.

Unfortunately, a select group of students have partially tarnished the first several men’s hockey games in a truly pathetic attempt to have a good time. It appears that some students feel the arena is nothing more than another outlet to make complete fools of themselves at the expense of other fans, university employees and sometimes the Quinnipiac team itself.

I have been present for at least part of all four hockey games at the new arena through the Feb. 6 game vs. Bentley. At least once during three of the four games, students seated in the first couple rows have felt the need to shove on the glass so hard that the panes came apart. This has resulted in unnecessary delays while maintenance workers came out and replaced the broken dividers, all the while listening to these same fans chant, “You can’t do it!” Classy.

Don’t tell me you’re just trying to have a good time, make noise and be supportive. Don’t tell me the glass at a new arena shouldn’t break so easily. When you have 10 to 15 college kids simultaneously shoving on a single group of panes, they’re going to give way eventually.

Then, during the latter part of the Yale game Feb. 2, several students celebrated third period Quinnipiac goals by tossing their free Bobcat foam paws and rally towels onto the ice, as if the team had just won the ECAC title. Despite repeated (though somewhat inaudible) public address requests to stop, this display continued with each successive goal.

Eventually, it resulted in a delay of game penalty against Quinnipiac. Yes, the penalty came after the outcome had been decided, but that may not be the case next time (i.e. the playoffs). Do we really have such little regard for our actions and the integrity of the game that throwing items on the ice is suddenly just part of having fun?

Next, there’s the now-notorious chant. Nearly all chants used have been supportive and/or within reason, albeit maddeningly repetitive. But during the Jan. 30 game against Harvard, much of the student section at one point decided to chant “F— you Harvard,” apparently without even considering that such language might be offensive to others in the arena. Again, real classy.

Now, before you reflexively call me out of touch or think I’m trying to put a damper on a good time, it is true that community members and parents who bring children should by no means expect a G-rated atmosphere. Not all chants are completely appropriate for children, and that shouldn’t have to change. It’s a college athletic event.

But let’s be serious. Of all things to say, don’t you think the F-word is a little over the line? It was then ridiculous to hear how outraged some students were at receiving an e-mail warning against using profanity at future games.

It’s hard to be sure, but part of the reason for all this nonsense may simply be that the extra space at the new arena has resulted in the attendance of many more students who aren’t hockey fans in the least.

Why else would the student section be randomly chanting “Bud Fisher” for the goaltender when our offense was cycling the puck in the Yale zone on a power play? Why else was there no reaction after we killed off a two-men down situation of our own? Why else are there chants of “bulls—t” nearly every time a QU player is assessed a legitimate penalty?

At the same time, this is not true of all students, and I by no means want to paint everyone with the same brush. Most student-fans who I know are fans of the game of hockey, know the sport, or at least know enough to behave in a spirited but respectful manner. It’s not too much to ask. The problem arises when the foolish, selfish actions of the minority cause a distraction, or, as has been the case so far, a disruption.

Putting on your free yellow “Crazy Bobcat” t-shirt does not give you the right to literally act like a crazy individual with an anything-goes attitude once you enter the arena. I see no reason why students can’t do many of the same things we’ve been doing all along, but still know that certain actions just aren’t acceptable or necessary. This really shouldn’t be difficult to figure out.