The Battle of Whitney Avenue is a one-way street


Alex Bayer

The M&T Bank Arena averaged 2,936 fans per game during the 2022-2023 men’s ice hockey season, averaging 95.1% capacity each time the Bobcats took to the ice.

Michael LaRocca, Opinion Editor

If you plan on going to an event where tickets are being sold at an infinite markup, think twice.

The Quinnipiac University community has two treats waiting for it at the end of this week: spring break and the men’s hockey match up against Yale in the ECAC Hockey Tournament Quarterfinals. That means at least two uninterrupted days of rowdy Bobcat fans filling the stands of Frank Perrotti Jr. Arena to see their team play its most hated rival in the playoffs for the first time since 2018.

However, what Bobcat nation should be doing is looking at the Battle of Whitney Avenue for what it is: a sham.

Every year, Quinnipiac officials love to market the leadup to the men’s hockey matchup with Yale at M&T Bank Arena as “Beat Yale Week.” All week long, there are countless events to get the student body filled with spirit. Along with that, people who were lucky enough to get free student tickets try to sell them for an undeserved profit.

This all results in a line of fans building outside the arena as early as six hours before puck drop. Is it an example of successful marketing? Yes. Does that make it any less embarrassing? No.

Quinnipiac vs. Yale should not be seen as a rivalry. The numbers speak for themselves. Since their first-ever matchup on Jan. 8, 2006, Quinnipiac has played against Yale in men’s hockey 40 times. Of those 40, Quinnipiac has won 28 games, Yale has won seven and the two tied a total of five times.

Along with that, Quinnipiac is currently on the longest winning streak in the rivalry’s history, having won 10 straight matchups dating back to Feb. 9, 2018. The last time Quinnipiac lost before that? April 13, 2013. But we’ll get back to that later.

Yale men’s hockey just has not been that great in recent years. The last time the Bulldogs finished with a winning record was all the way back in the 2015-16 season, a year they went 0-2 against the Bobcats. And before Yale forward David Chen scored in the most recent edition of the rivalry on Feb. 17, the last time the Bulldogs put one past a Bobcat goaltender was Feb. 7, 2020. That’s three years and 10 days. It’s just tragic.

Back in 2008, Bleacher Report’s Billy Ray inadvertently summarized Quinnipiac vs. Yale perfectly in an article about rivalries. 

“I know it goes against the grain of many fans to believe that anytime your rival wins a game, it is a good thing,” Ray wrote. “But if they lose every game, where is the honor and glory in your team giving them a thorough butt whipping?” So Quinnipiac wins a lot in this rivalry, and it wins with confidence. But do you remember that date previously mentioned? April 13, 2013. If a Yale fan is being berated by a Quinnipiac fan, this date is all the ammunition they need to fire back.

How can one side say with confidence that they own the rivalry when they lost the one game that truly mattered?

— Michael LaRocca, opinion editor

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The 2013 NCAA Men’s Hockey National Championship Game. The biggest game in the history of both school’s men’s hockey programs at that point. The two teams already played each other three times that season. Quinnipiac won all three, outscoring Yale by a combined 13-3. It should have been Quinnipiac’s crowning moment. Instead, the lights of what was then the CONSOL Energy Center were too bright for the Bobcats. Yale won 4-0 and Quinnipiac is still searching for a national title.

How can one side say with confidence that they own the rivalry when they lost the one game that truly mattered?

Then again, the Battle of Whitney Avenue cannot be considered a rivalry. For it to be a rivalry, both sides need to care. Yale doesn’t care.

The last four editions of this matchup hosted in Hamden had an average attendance of 3,625. Four straight sellouts. The last four editions of the matchup hosted in New Haven had an average attendance of 2,617. Only one sellout.

Even then, when Quinnipiac played at Ingalls Rink on Nov. 12, 2022, Bobcat fans visibly outnumbered those supporting the home Bulldogs. It’s easy to see which side lives in the other’s head.

Yale has bigger priorities, like Harvard. The last four times the Crimson came to New Haven to play the Bulldogs, the crowd averaged 2,853 people, and there were no Quinnipiac fans around to inflate the numbers.

Quinnipiac is the little brother that has nothing better to do than pick on their big brother. To Quinnipiac, Yale is the evil dragon it needs to slay. To Yale, Quinnipiac is a gnat on the wall.

Yale students are barely aware this rivalry even exists.

This season, Yale freshman forward David Chen became the first Bulldog to score on Quinnipiac since February 2020. (Peyton McKenzie)

“Honestly, I have no idea,” Yale sophomore philosophy major Oliver Guinan said. “I never heard anybody talk about the Yale-Quinnipiac hockey rivalry. Yeah sorry, I have no clue.”

If they are aware of any rivalry, it’s certainly not with the Bobcats.

“I’ve only been to the Yale-Harvard hockey game,” Yale economics major Avery DiMaria said. “I don’t know if it’s the general consensus, but you only really know all of Yale’s rivalries if you’re closely linked to the hockey team.”

Compare this to Quinnipiac, where the idea of hating Yale is ingrained into the minds of every new student at orientation. While it’s not an official component of new student orientation, not a year goes by without the Battle of Whitney Avenue being mentioned.

You can take these two schools away from the ice and it’s still sad to look at. While a Quinnipiac education is nothing to scoff at, anyone who tries to argue that Quinnipiac is a better institution than Yale is either lying or delusional. No amount of statistics is necessary to prove what is common knowledge.

In other sports as well, this matchup is either close or absolutely dominated by the Bulldogs. Women’s hockey is 23-21-8 all-time against Yale, just barely hanging onto a winning record. In every other sport where the two schools play one on one, Quinnipiac is a combined 42-97-2. Only men’s (4-1) and women’s (12-5) basketball have winning records. Men’s (0-6) and women’s (0-9) lacrosse, men’s (0-4) and women’s (0-12) tennis and volleyball (0-7) have never beaten the Bulldogs.

It is said that someone shouldn’t put a lot of energy into a friendship if it isn’t reciprocated. Well, the same goes for enemies. Keep that in mind this weekend when our Bobcats take on the Bulldogs in the ECAC Quarterfinals. No matter how much the university tries to tell you otherwise, it’s just another game. The only difference is that one team had to drive just eight miles to come play.