Hockey. One of the most intense sports on the planet. Unlike most other sports, you play on a surface that is not grass or turf, but ice. You don’t run, you skate 200 feet, back and forth. You don’t wear cleats, you wear hockey skates. In hockey, there is a lot different than other sports, but that doesn’t ruin the fans’ experience. In fact, between the uniqueness of the sport and the potential success of your team, I believe it makes the fan experience better.
Hockey is quite unique to other sports in the fact where, for the majority of teams, there is a fan section. Ranging from our Blue and Orange Army sectioned in 228 and 229, to the 5th Line in Columbus, to the Diablos in New Jersey, there are many teams in the NHL with their own unique fan sections. Those fan sections also tend to show themselves when it comes to college hockey.
You may be asking yourself why this is relevant information, why college hockey is being brought into the equation. Well, here is why.
This year, I began my college experience at Michigan State University, home of the Michigan State Spartans. They have the opportunity to play in one of the Power Five conferences, the BIG 10, which includes other major sports schools, such as Ohio State University and the University of Michigan.
Alongside the opportunity to get a great education, there is an amazing sports culture here. The student sections for football and basketball are insane every game, but I think the experience at a hockey game here definitely describes best the sports culture of Michigan State University.
In many ways, being an Islanders fan and a Spartans fan when it comes to hockey are very similar. Just like the Blue and Orange Army, the student section at MSU hockey games is referred to as the Munnsters, based on where our home games are played, Munn Ice Arena. Blue and Orange Army chants? Yep, we’ve got our own, too. Ranging from calling the opposing goalie a “sieve” after every Spartans goal, to the traditional calls telling the referees that they made a wrong call, you will never hear the Munnsters quiet.
Now, does this go for just MSU, or other schools too?
Of course, it goes on at other schools! Ranging from lower-tier high schools to Power Five conference sporting events, fan sections are becoming more and more popular in the past few years.
When it comes to college hockey, it is also great seeing some of the NHL’s next stars. Already this season, I have had the opportunity to see many of the Islanders’ prospects, including Christian Krygier, who plays defense for the Spartans, Notre Dame forward Jacob Pivonka, and University of Michigan forward Nick Pastujov.
All in all, the atmosphere at college hockey games is very similar to the environment you get to experience night in and night out at the Coliseum or Barclays Center.