Excitement continues to build on campus as the men’s hockey team prepares for its first trip to the NCAA Frozen Four next week in Tampa, Fla.
The College Bookstore reports brisk sales of T-shirts, sweatshirts and caps commemorating Union’s appearance in college hockey’s equivalent of March Madness.
Banners celebrating the team’s success hang proudly in Reamer Campus Center and other gathering spots.
Across campus, even students, faculty and staff who generally don’t follow hockey are caught up in the excitement of a team that boasts a number three national ranking and has won three of the last five student-athlete of the year awards in ECAC hockey.
“The support we’ve received not only in the last few weeks, but really, all season long, has been phenomenal,” said Jim McLaughlin ’93, director of Athletics. “It’s been wonderful for the players and the coaches to experience. It shows what Union is all about.”
Today is the last day fans can buy through the College full-session tickets to the tournament, which includes Union’s semifinal matchup against Ferris State University 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 5, at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. The $195 ticket also covers the other semifinal game at 8 p.m. Thursday pitting Boston College against Minnesota and the national championship game Saturday, April 7 at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased up to 5 p.m. today at the College’s Athletic Office. For more information, call (518)388-6020.
Fans can also purchase tickets for a bus that will leave campus at 7 a.m. Wednesday and arrive in Tampa around noon on game day. The bus will depart Tampa and return to campus after Saturday’s game. The cost of a roundtrip ticket is $190, and does not include a ticket to the games or lodging. For more information, contact Sarah Lewis at 388-6284 or firstname.lastname@example.org before noon today. A minimum number of travelers will be required for the bus to operate.
Alumni making the trip to Tampa are invited to a pre-game reception hosted by the College’s Office of Alumni Relations from 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday at Tinatapas, which the NCAA has renamed the Dutchmen Diner for the tournament. The event features a buffet, cash bar, door prizes and special greetings from Union College officials. For more information, call (518) 388-6168, or register online at www.union.edu/alumni/calendar .
For fans unable to make it to Florida, Union’s game Thursday will be televised by ESPNU. Saturday’s game will be shown on ESPN2.
A campus-wide viewing party is planned for Messa Rink at Achilles Center, where members of the campus community and the public can watch the games on oversized screens. The concession stand will be stocked with food and drinks. Doors open at 4 p.m. Thursday, and if Union advances to the title game, 6:30 p.m. Saturday. The first 400 people to enter the rink will receive a Union boom stick.
Union pride is evident in the community. The Chamber of Schenectady County is hosting an event 11 a.m. Monday to honor the team and to encourage businesses throughout the city to show their support for Union by displaying memorabilia in their storefronts.
The road to the Frozen Four has been a boon to Union’s visibility, with a number of national and regional media outlets chronicling the team’s success, including the New York Times, US College Hockey Online, NHL.com and the Tampa Tribune. A piece featuring the team is also scheduled to appear in an upcoming issue of Sports Illustrated.