Editorial, Opinion

STAFF EDIT: Unite around the game

From the moment freshmen step onto the Charles River campus for orientation, they are divided among their schools. Student Advisers encourage the first-year students to chant for their college and against the rest.
Consequently, if you ask many Boston University students what school they attend, they will answer ‘the School of Management’ or ‘the College of Engineering.’ Few say, ‘BU.’
So it’s not surprising that school spirit can be hard to find at this large and often impersonal university. But if you put a couple thousand BU students into Agganis Arena and bring the men’s hockey team onto Jack Parker Rink, school spirit suddenly wakens and becomes as apparent as the scarlet and white in Section 118.
School spirit usually centers around sports. Just ask students at schools like the University of Michigan and the University of California-Los Angeles ‘-‘- places with academic standards and student volumes that match BU’s. Their athletic teams play in major Division I conferences and have no trouble drawing large, passionate crowds to watch football at The Big House or basketball at Pauly Pavilion.
While it would be great if BU could generate massive fan support for every sport, the only program that consistently fills the stands is hockey. Hockey is BU’s sport.
This year could be an especially exciting one for BU hockey. After a Beanpot title and NCAA Tournament berth eluded the Terriers last season, this year brings new hope. In the Ice Breaker Invitational Tournament last weekend, BU beat the University of North Dakota and Michigan State University. Not only was it the first time since the 2001-2002 campaign that the Terriers started out the year 2-0, but they started strong against difficult competition -‘-‘- North Dakota was ranked fifth in the country when BU won 5-1 and Michigan State was 11th when BU beat it 2-1. After their stellar play, the Terriers are now the fifth best team in the nation.
But more than just being a skilled hockey team, this year’s Terrier squad epitomizes school spirit. Two of its leaders, senior Matt Gilroy and sophomore Colin Wilson, chose to return to BU despite offers to play professional hockey. Considering BU’s troubling season last year, few would have blamed the standouts of opting for the bigger stage, but both returned largely because they wanted to help reestablish the BU hockey brand.’
Coach Jack Parker often speaks about his team members being outstanding BU hockey players, not just outstanding hockey players. He means that they are focused on their team, not their stats.
That’s how BU students should feel. The hockey team is the university’s team. And the games provide one of the rare opportunities for students to chant in unison.

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