We’ve spoken about it before at SWIAM but we’ll say it again; Ice Hockey is one of the most underrated spectator sports going around.
What other sport requires finesse skills like ice-skating and controlling a tiny black puck as well as bearing the brunt of intense physicality? There aren’t many. Throw in the varying paces of the sport and you have yourself an absolute treat of a live event.
Ice Hockey is an underrated tourist activity to start with – then throw in the College (or, University) aspect and it’s an opportunity most travellers miss out on. While College Ice Hockey is popular in its respective states across the U.S, if it’s not NHL, it’s not often documented on or attended by touring sports fans. This is unfortunate.
Like other college sports, the students give 110% all of the time because they have something to prove. In-turn, this amps up the intensity of the match and results in much better viewing for the spectators.
Along with that, College Ice Hockey has some pretty crazy traditions.
For example, whenever Dartmouth plays Princeton and scores its first goal, the crowd throws tennis balls on to the ice. Why? In 1998, a Princeton student threw a tennis ball at the Dartmouth goalie when he let through the first goal of the game. Since then, it’s been a tradition.
Similarly, back in the 1970s the New Hampshire Wildcats scored the first goal of the game in a Division 2 matchup and a fish was thrown on the ice from someone sitting in the stands. Now, the campus fraternity keeps the tradition going and even gets donations from the local fish markets.
Finally, one of the cooler traditions for ice-hockey; live bands and chants from the crowd. This probably seems pretty normal for college football but there’s something a lot more emphatic about the musical tones echoing through a huge ice-arena, and it’s something that needs to be experienced in person to really appreciate. Sometimes they’re accompanied by dancers and a lot of colleges have their own ‘anthems’ or ‘victory songs’ which are spine tingling.
So if you’re looking for an excuse to immerse yourself in the life of college ice-hockey, I think skill, dedicated young athletes and fans, traditions and hair-raising live bands ought to fulfill your appetite.
And it’s currently being played in more cities than you think.
You can plug it straight into your USA travel itinerary: university hockey Chicago, or Boston, or Denver, or Detroit, or many others.
We think it’s worth checking out.
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