The college ice hockey player’s journey does not begin freshman year. It...
Commentary: Enjoy it, Bobcat fans
So your team is in the national championship. Now what do you do? You enjoy it.
“But it is against our biggest rival, what happens if we lose?”
Then your team loses. It is not the end of the world and it won’t take away from the most memorable season in Quinnipiac sports history. Albeit a short history, it is tough to imagine another event that will rival what the Bobcats have done on the ice this season.
The excitement this school is experiencing is unlike anything that the school may experience again. Sure a new med school is exciting, and I bet the school couldn’t be happier if a future U.S. president comes from Quinnipiac, but it isn’t a Kevin Bui double-overtime goal. It isn’t a Matthew Peca natural-hat trick. It isn’t a wild Jordan Samuels-Thomas goal celebration. It isn’t a three-on-one Eric Hartzell save. And it certainly isn’t the 2012-13 Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team.
For sports fans, this is everything. The national championship is the momentum that every player, coach, manager, athletic director and fan dream of. It is the pinnacle of the hard work that started long before the first puck drop in Orono, Maine. It started long before a verbal or written commitment to play under Rand Pecknold. It started when these kids knew they wanted to be hockey players.
It started when hockey families got up before sunrise to get to practice in the wee hours of the morning because that was the only time their peewee team could get ice time. Moms and dads watch their sons and daughters get cracked into the boards on a big body check in high school and cringe every time they see those same kids drop to block a slap shot.
It’s a special game that encourages physical play that borders on assault charges outside the arena walls and in the same vein brings teammates together to protect one another. It causes a fan to cheer so hard after an overtime goal that in a matter of seconds you lose your voice and have a splitting headache that not even a handful of aspirins could cure.
The game, so powerful that it united a nation in 1980, is rearing its head in Hamden as college hockey’s sleeping giant awakes.
Every game is special and every person that is involved with a particular sport will tell you the same thing: their sport is the best. There is no doubt that every sport has its moments of pure jubilation, but Quinnipiac is quickly remembering why it built the TD Bank Sports Center.
Anyone that was in that building for the 2010 Northeast Conference championship game can tell you how special of a game basketball is. They can tell you that a James Johnson dagger 3-pointer is just as exciting as any goal Kellen Jones scores.
But there is something mystical about the game of hockey. It might have to do with its almost cult-like status among the fans that dedicate their lives to it. It might have to do with the fact that most of America ignores the sport and those that love it like to keep it that way, like a secret that we don’t want anyone knowing about.
It’s the smell of the arena, the roar of a big hit, the blare of a goal horn, the team celebration after a win, and the pandemonium after a national championship. It’s what college hockey is all about, and we’re glad Quinnipiac is finding out about it.
Welcome to the national championship Bobcat fans, now enjoy it.