Banner season to be celebrated one last time

Men's hockey team's national championship banner to be raised
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Banner season to be celebrated one last time

The wait is over.

Six months after the men’s hockey team capped off a magical season by capturing its first NCAA Division I national title, the championship banner is ready to be raised.

Before the start of the Dutchmen’s regular season opener Friday, Oct. 10, against American International, the team will unveil the championship banner in Messa Rink. Banners will also be raised for the Cleary Cup, Whitelaw Cup, Frozen Four and NCAA tournament appearances. That will bring to 10 the number of banners hanging from the rink.

The game starts at 8 p.m., but fans are encouraged to arrive by 7:30 for the banner ceremony.

As part of the special festivities, all men’s hockey alumni were invited to attend a pre-game reception and be on the ice when the banners are raised.

The men’s hockey program began in 1903-04 and was elevated to Division I in 1991-92. At least 60 former players have said they planned to attend.

“Winning the national championship is testament to all the hard work and sacrifices of every player whoever put on a Union College hockey jersey,” said Athletic Director Jim McLaughlin. “We wanted to make sure they could share in this historic moment for a program rich in history.”

The team finished with a record of 32-6-4, knocking off powerhouses Boston College and Minnesota at the Frozen Four in Philadelphia in April to claim college hockey’s top prize. It was the College’s first championship since the 1929 men's lacrosse team.

A week later, thousands turned out for the championship parade that began near Messa Rink and wound its way for over a mile through Schenectady streets lined three and four deep with supporters before ending up at City Hall. There, head coach Rick Bennett and captain Mat Bodie were presented with a key to the city by Mayor Gary McCarthy.

The Dutchmen’s unprecedented run generated a wealth of national and local media attention, including coverage from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Sports Illustrated, ESPN and hundreds of other outlets throughout North America.

Friday’s game is nearly sold out. It will be televised locally on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel. It is available in HD on channel 323 in Albany, central New York and Rochester, and on channel 713 in Buffalo Men