Sunday, July 15, 2007

Dear Incoming Recruits

You're about to make a pretty big change in your life. You've chosen to advance your hockey career and get an education at the same time. And you're going to a fairly unique place that's a helluva long way from the rest of the world. There are some things it'll be useful for you to know that might help make it a success.

The Sullivan Arena won't be full. There are lots of reasons for it. The only thing you really need to know though, is that if you help the team win more games it will fill up during the season. And the folks that are there are as passionate as any group of fans you've ever played for. As fans we don't expect you to light up the league your first season. If you do, its a bonus. But we'll appreciate your play whatever the case.

There are 15 forwards on the team meaning 3 guys aren't dressing for each game. There's 9 defensemen. Oops ... 4 players ain't dressing. That doesn't necessarily mean that only freshmen will be sitting. But it's best to be prepared for that possibility, no doubt sitting in the stands will be a new experience for some of you. Coach Shyiak's first two years taught me that he is a coach who gives everyone more than a couple of chances to play throughout the season. This means sitting in the stands is something that has been (more or less) distributed evenly over those two seasons. As with any coach if you show it during practice you'll earn chances to play. And if you produce during those chances you'll stay out of the stands.

Deep in the winter it gets dark here early. Not 5pm dark. Not even 4pm dark. It's like 3:42pm dark at it's worst. It's different but it's not as big a negative as you might expect. The period of those dark days only last about six weeks. The daylight is longer here from March through October in the lower 48. And in the middle of summer it is exactly opposite from the depths of a dark winter. It's a bit of a tradeoff that most people who live here learn to appreciate. Golfing in June and July at 10 or 11 at night with discount twilight greens fees? If you like camping, hiking, hunting, fishing or otherwise recreating in an outdoorsy way then you're coming to probably the best place on the planet to do those things. My advice is for you to take advantage of every opportunity you get to do those things during your Seawolf career. You won't regret it. Fish that other WCHA players are catching near their schools are called bait up here.

Pretty much every other weekend you're going to have a long plane trip. 5 or 6 hours on a plane and probably some bus time as well. No doubt you've been on lots of road trips. You'll go on a couple that have 4 hour time differences. A couple have 3 hour time differences and the others are 2 hours. None of which will be a disadvantage. You'll see some rinks with impressive student support and fanbases that mostly fill their arenas. There's a bit of a "wow factor" visiting a couple of those joints so just try your best to get that out of your system before gametime. Here's a brief rundown:
At the Kohl Center in Madison the large student section dances and sings and chants. Mariucci Arena is so corpie tight-assed and revered spiritually by the fanbase that taking a crap in the public restrooms is frowned upon. The Ralph is glitz, tech and rabid ... that's what happens when a giant ego from a small prairie town builds a marble edifice as his legacy. I hear the fans are "biters". Be glad the glass is between you and them. In Colorado both the rinks present the same challenge. They're more than a mile high and you live at sea level. Best case for your body to completely acclimatize to a big altitude change is 3-4 days. So ... You're gonna be huffing and puffing. Some trips will be more interesting than others. Denver and Minneapolis are big cities with lots of sights and sounds, Denver and CC have mountain vistas, Grand Forks has the whole spectacularly flat thing going for it and Madison has hippies ... then there's the other end of the roadtrip excitement spectrum ... St. Cloud. Hey ... Deal with the little bit of bad in mostly otherwise interesting destinations. It's a relatively small burden.
We hate Fairbanks ergo you hate Fairbanks. OK? Seriously, we never want to lose to them again. You don't either. On board with that? The "Governors Cup" is a big deal to UAF fans and denying them it, is why you're here. Following the the general trend now? Seawolf > Nanook. It's just that simple. Ingrain it on your psyche. Burn it in your memory. Never forget. They hate freedom. We love freedom. Fairbanks bad. UAA good. The ticket is free to get on the "Hate-FBX" bus, so jump on it and stay on it. Comprende? Ok then ... the less said about Fairbanks the better.

We UAA fans look forward to seeing you on the ice. We look forward to the moments when you'll have a chance to be a hero for a night. We look forward to seeing you paste someone to the wall. We'll cheer our asses off when you kill off a penalty in the opponents zone with your forecheck. We'll bow in our unworthiness when you make some magic with the puck. But more than anything else we'll respect your 100% effort in an attempt to entertain us. Thanks in advance for that and for both our sakes ... do all your homework!

22 comments:

Goon said...

Golfing in June and July at 10 or 11 at night with discount twilight greens fees?

Sweet...

Anonymous said...

Did anybody mention, we HATE UAF, and they are still in Fairbanks, although they don't want you to know that. And I have actually found a place in AK that I dislike more than Fairbanks (miracle) Nenana, But the Monderosa has some good burgers (it is just north of Nenana and not in Nenana).

And did anyone mention that UAA is not allowed to ever lose a game in the Governor's Cup again? Well they are not. It was too wonderful to see the faces of the nooks when we came back in game one to beat them, oh they were so cocky with the two nothing lead and then came the rest of the game.

And keep fighting for sixty minutes and you will win games. It seemed that the problem last year was discouragement more than anything, keep fighting and keep winning. Make this program proud.
Are any recruits going to read this? Well hopefully.

THE UNH MEN'S HOCKEY BLOGGER GUY said...

Hey Donald!

What are you playing up there? Field hockey? :)

8 defensemen playing!?

Don't know what ya'll are smokin' up there but we only run 6 d-men on the active roster. Mathematics would say that that'd make 6 guys not playing on a given night.

Hey, are you copying our recruiting techniques? We're going to have 16 forwards and 8 d. Nope, we got you beat.

Anonymous said...

Don't most teams run 4 lines? That's 8 D men.

MeanEgirl said...

Love this entry... but you forgot to mention the awesome student section in Houghton and the sweetest band they'll ever see and hear... along with with strip club right as they walk out of the door at the MWCC. How about the unforgiving student section in Duluth...

Just trying to make sure that there aren't any surprises for them.

And the last piece of advice I can give them - don't even try in the MacInnes. Guys, you're going to lose anyway there... best to save your energy for the Gopher or Nanook series instead.

Anonymous said...

bring on the macinnes bethlyn

Donald said...

The Pep Band! Oh cripes ... I forgot about the MTU Pep Band. How could I forget them? Aren't they THE offiical WCHA Final Five Pep Band? How does that Pep work? Do the MTU players get all pepped up? What if they get too much pep? Could they spontaneously go on like a meth-tweak? Tweaking Huskies? ... oh eek!!! To much pep is clearly not a good thing but I bet everyone gets their homework done real fast.

unhmhbg:
I'm fairly certain UAA always tries to dress 22 players. Sometimes it's only 7 defensemen and 13 forwards along with the 2 goalies. If I'm not mistaken the WCHA allows up to 24 players to be dressed.

Now ... how about contributing some of the popular chants your crowd uses when BU comes to town. I want to make them feel at home.

THE UNH MEN'S HOCKEY BLOGGER GUY said...

Oh, man!

Haven't you heard!

We're pretty much the University of No Honkin' chants!

The best I can come up with right now is "Sucks to B U!"

Any references to 'bitches'... or spaying the terriers... and whenever bu comes to town the 'sit down, shut up' chant always comes out as Jack Parker is, let's say, prone to opening his mouth about something in every game - a real favorite of the refs - I seriously don't think a single coach has ever been thrown out of more games in the Whitt - including Umile!

As far as the roster comments - I'm just messin' 'round anyhow. I do know that we only ever dress 12 forwards and 6 defensemen and occasionally (if there are injuries or it's senior night) 3 goalies.

And that's THE - UMHBG to you!

Keep up the good work!

I'll get back to you if I recall any other chants - as far as bu goes, and I hate to say it, you'd be better off hitting up a bc fan.

-TUMHBG

Runninwiththedogs said...

Fucker. You forgot that Duluth rocks your face off, and that their blogger is a hottie.

Donald said...

Dayum,
First the meanie comes in whining and now selfannointed miss hottie decries her exclusion? Can't you guys see that I posted that at 10:49am! Am I supposed to be fully responsible for things that I post near midmorning? No. I refuse ... midmorning is for now and ever forward a sacrosanct time period from these sorts of criticisms.

Besides I have to save what little amounts of "schtick" about Houghton and Duluth for a later time.

wolfman said...

OK, I am in Shreveport, Louisiana. I feel like a foreigner in a land of LSU (down here the say LS Shoe). Hate it. I am a UAA fan. I wear a UAA class ring. My office bleeds Green and Gold. I check the goseawolves.com site daily. Ditto Donald’s blog. No one knows I “exist” down here except that I have UAA license plates on BOTH cars. Talk to people here, they have no idea why UAA is better than UAF. After reading Donald’s blog, I am energized once again! I LOVED the part of beating UAF!!!! Will be watching games again on my plasma through my computer and Fox Sports networks! GO SEAWOLVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THE UNH MEN'S HOCKEY BLOGGER GUY said...

Oh, I can't believe I forgot my all time favorite chant when BU disgraces the Whittemore Center Ice... wait till it's slightly quiet then...

Fuck Maine!

(Just think if you yelled 'Fuck UAF' the next time the Go-fers come to town...)

Now, THAT'S some disrespect!

While you're at it tell them to send the 'Cats next time!

Go 'Cats!

Donald said...

UNHHBG:
Unfortunately, we don't have a good student section. So when I attempt to start anything with even a minor hint of anything you could possibly construe as vulgar then I usually get a visit from a bleacher nazi. I've been threatened with removal for chanting BULLSHIT. And while chanting BOVINE EXCREMENT is entertaining once it doesn't have the same effect.

The "student section" here is woefully inadequate. No offense to any of the students that attend. They try to get it going but there just isn't enough of them. Granted I'm on the opposite side from them but it's rare that I actually hear what they're chanting.

In any case, Suze and Mr. Suze (sorry Bob) and the folks around us in our section usually do a good job when someone starts a good one and we're on the edge of the balcony right behind the benches. We wait for quiet times to start in too ...

I'm figuring we'll get a couple of good rounds of "Sucks to BU" and I'll definitely think of a good variation of the " Fuck UAF" idea.

Jeff said...

well donald if you'd get your ass in the student section instead of sitting on the other side of the arena, we would be a little bit louder :) We could use an extra voice ya know

Donald said...

jeff:
I've considered it but an old guy sitting with the students seems odd to me.

So instead, I'll write a "Dear Student Section" post as part of the run up to the beginning of the season. I'm all about getting behind any effort to improve the student section ... I just won't sit with them ;-)

Jeff said...

c'mon. i've seen old guys sitting in the student section before.

Anonymous said...

out of all the students I have been threatend the most every time i come home to watch a game in the sully they add more secerity to the student side, but u know what students att uaa need to grow balls yeah this year though i no longer go to uaa I am calling all the students out i dare one or all of u to yell fuck uaf at the bc game

Runninwiththedogs said...

Bitch please.

Anonymous said...

did anyone hear about the new pact that dr. cobb and forrest karr made? starting in 08-09 we will be playing uaf twice and both schools will play in the nye classic and whatever tournament the nooks play in. does that blow or what? i enjoy the four game series with UAF.

Donald said...

Playing in a tournament at an away arena is a very positive move for scheduling. It is an opportunity to gain comparisons against teams in other leagues beside UAF and the CCHA. It's an important facet that was needed in the schedule to help keep UAA off any NCAA tourney bubbles.

Putting the rivalry into two separate tournaments is definitely a good way to ensure a good gate on the first night at both rinks.

I don't think a rivalry requires 4 games. You can read a more extensive argument in this post:

4 games or 2

There's a link in the document to the UAF Blog and Eric's view ...

Goon said...

MEg, don't you play in the band? at MTU? LOL...

Goon said...

LOL: Donald there isn't enough anti-UND stuff in your article, I would suggest taking it back to the presses. :) ;)

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