I have been a Gopher Hockey fan my whole life. Mariucci Arena is the most electric place in town. When the Sioux or the Badgers step on the rink to play the Gophers, the arena rocks. The fans love the team and do everything they can to support their team. Most of the time, the student section does their part as well.
This opinion is not a critique of what happened on the ice this weekend. There is bad blood between the Gophers and the University of North Dakota Sioux. You can see it in the players’ eyes. There have been many fights between the Gophers and the Sioux. One would not be surprised to see it again this weekend.
During Saturday night’s game, there were fights in the second and the third periods, and the game went into overtime. With about two minutes remaining in the period, the refs “blew” a call. The fans let them know it. I am completely fine with this. What I am not fine with is what happened next.
As time ran out, a few Gopher players and a few Sioux players began to tussle. Fine. The players are allowed to fight. They will be punished by the league for this, but if a player needs to stand up for their team then do it. The referees cleared the scrum and as the teams shook hands, more fighting broke out between the Gopher and Sioux players. There will be punishment.
But then, for the first time in my life, I saw something truly outrageous. The student section started to litter the ice with their trash. One fan even went far enough to get pulled away by security guards for saying and throwing something at a referee.
This is ridiculous, I thought. What good does this do? It reflects poorly upon our student section. It reflects poorly upon our hockey team. It reflects poorly upon the University.
Was the point to bemoan the referees for their bad call? They won’t care if we throw trash onto the ice.
Was the point to irk the Sioux players? They will mock us. The players will say, “Look at what we made the students do, those fools.”
Or was the point to completely ridicule ourselves and make more work for our own University’s employees? Because that is all littering the ice with trash will do. The University will have to do more work to clean the ice up and clean its own image up as well.
Littering the ice is completely disrespectful to the game of hockey. Let the players settle it on the ice with their sticks or fighting. It is not the fans’ job to destroy the ice after a game. Use your voice. Boo and swear all you want. Throwing garbage onto the rink after the game has ended isn’t exactly the best way to show school spirit.
We should be ashamed of ourselves. Other schools in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association deserve to laugh at our team now. As security put it after the game, “Yeah, it certainly doesn’t look good for your school.” No sir, it doesn’t.
Honor the game. Our players work their butts off out there. Being respectful is showing up and giving the players energy. We have disrespected the players. I apologize for the fans rude behavior. Hopefully it won’t happen again.
Seth Greenwood is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]