The Report of College Hockey’s Death Was an Exaggeration
Well. I guess it’s time we had a discussion. Comic essays by Dan Myers and Patrick Reusse (you can only read that if you’re a subscriber or haven’t read your precious 10 articles or whatever this month!! Ration wisely.) yesterday prompted some thoughts and now you must suffer through them or maybe close your browser tab.
Myers opens with a great joke. I’ll give away the punchline, Arizona State will join the WCHA.
Indeed. I am sure they are dying to play Alabama-Huntsville and Buttmidji. But wait! Never mind! Alabama Huntsville will be kicked out of the WCHA for some kind of neo-CCHA in some kind of Circle of Life crap, and the WCHA will… look a lot like the old WCHA and a heck of a lot more palatable conference to someone who covers a team that is apparently followed only by fair-weather fans who have no interest in seeking new life or new civilizations or new rivals. Look, Dan, I am sorry that you married a Gopher fan who thinks college hockey sucks simply because she has to watch some new teams, but the NCHC is not going to disband simply to make your wife and you happy again. MOVE ON. So you want to watch tUMD play MSUM and have that dive your player took in OT affect conference standings? Come on, you’re a Mankato fan. In the old WCHA, “conference standings” to you guys meant the difference between last place and second to last. Who in their right mind would long for that? “Oh noes, we won our conference but didn’t beat the Gophers to win it!” Well, ok.
As for Gopher fans, well, I’ll get to them. Now. Reusse was kind enough to go to Mankato to cover tUMD-MSUM’s football game (which tDogs sadly lost, and it wasn’t even close) and then opted for a double feature by taking in a hockey game. Reusse mocks the Big 10 for forming a hockey conference, a pastime I also enjoy. I can’t fault him for that. Then he goes on the list all the ways the Gophers and their fans DGAF about their conference or their opponents, conference or non. Maybe that’s not the fault of conference realignment at all. Maybe that’s just the fault of the bad attitudes of the Gopher fans and players, no? I do have a few anecdotes of Goof fans whining on GPL about similar feelings. “I just don’t care about these games against [t]UMD!!!” they sniveled after their sweep. Why yes, you didn’t care because you got swept and you get to watch your team play uninspired hockey week after week. I don’t see how getting the band back together with the old WCHA is going to fix a loss to the U18 team. And I suppose Goofie fans don’t care much about playing Big 10 opponents like Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, etc., because the Gophers are basically a nonfactor in the sports that matter in the Big 10, so they don’t have the same heated rivalries with those teams. It’s nice to be a big fish in a small pond, I guess.
You know whose fans seem to be enjoying hockey, testing out new rivalries, and planning ahead for the conference tournament (ok maybe only Biddy, Brian, Dirty, and I are planning ahead for the Fab Four)? NCHC fans. Hey, we’ve got some new opponents now? Let’s meet some new fans, hate some new players, forge some new rivalries. Sure, our conference has some built-in rivalries, CC and DU, tUMD and SCSU, UND and everyone. But the Big 10 has UTMC-UWM, MSU-UMAA, Ohio State and everyone. And the WCHA has NMU-Tech, UAA-UA_, BSU-UAH. There’s excitement if you look for it. So you’ve never seen Ferris State play before? Just pretend they’re tUMD, they’ve ripped off our nickname anyway. Michigan Tech is winning games? That might be fun for their fans. Wisconsin is defecating the bed? That might be fun for… all of us.
Look, all of you Miss Havishams in the WCHA and Big 10 can reminisce about the glory days all you want, and sit there and pout as you suffer through a game against Penn State or LSSU, and bemoan the death of college hockey until you make it a reality by taking your toys and going home. That’s fine, you’ll enjoy your Pyrrhic victory, I am sure. Meanwhile, I’ll be sunning myself in the Arizona desert in a few Januarys, taunting the folks at the Blog of Brotherhood any chance I can get, and always always ALWAYS hating St. Cloud State.