A nail-biting hockey game, free coolers and shirts, hot dog races and a performance by the Midnight Ramblers underscored an entertaining night of a recently adopted UR tradition that took place last Friday, Feb. 20.
Students, alumni, faculty and staff were all invited to partake in the evening’s festivities.
According to Assistant Director of Wilson Commons Student Activities Laura Ballou, 225-350 students attend this event yearly. This marked the fourth year that it has been available to UR students and the third year collaborating with the Alumni Center.
Watching the Rochester Americans take on the Hershey Bears, a dominant force of the American Hockey League this season, turned out to be highly entertaining. By the end of the first period, the score was tied at one and remained this way through the second period. An early goal in the third period by the Bears put them in the lead, 2-1.
It appeared as though the game would end this way until Rochester tied the score with approximately three minutes and 30 seconds left. With a renewed sense of life and energy flowing through the audience, including our UR section, Rochester scored again within the next minute of play, causing a joyous uproar from the crowd. I remember my voice feeling slightly strained later in the evening from participating in the celebration of this sudden turn of events. Though this was the end of the scoring for the game, the tension in the audience could be felt for the next three minutes, as we hoped that Rochester could hold off the Bears for the upset.
Besides the exhilaration of the game, there were numerous other defining moments over the course of the evening. To begin the night, UR fans were provided with transportation to the game by university buses, which looped throughout the evening beginning at 6:30 p.m. The first wave arrived early enough to benefit from the promotion of the evening, which came in the form of a soft, zamboni-shaped cooler bearing the Rochester Americans’ logo.
It was nice to walk through the doors of the arena and immediately feel a small surge of excitement after noticing that we were going to get prizes. I know my friends felt the same way.
‘I thought that it was a cool way to promote the game and that it was neat to have a souvenir from the experience,” junior Chris Storey said.
To start the action of the night, our own mascot Rocky, dropped the ceremonial puck, which was followed by the singing of the national anthem by the Midnight Ramblers. Ballou, an alumnus of UR, mentioned that these two features have been classic traditions of the night since its inception. Other highlights included T-shirt tosses throughout the arena, with many shirts soaring into our seating section.
Between the first and second periods, our cheerleaders led another shirt toss, throwing them from the ice surface. Additionally, three students were recruited to dress up in hot dog suits and race each other on the ice, which was one of the more memorable moments of the night. Race participant junior Riley Robinson said, ‘It’s not everyday you get to run around in a hot dog suit.”
During the intermission between the second and third periods, three students were selected to help pick up stars that were thrown by fans who had purchased them throughout the game. These star sales benefited Anthony DiPonzio, a recently injured Rochester police officer. The UR Pep Band also performed intermittently over the course of the game. Seated in a section by themselves, they were able to project their upbeat tunes throughout the arena, receiving wide acclaim from the crowd.
The experience of Rochester Americans hockey at the Blue Cross Arena, intertwined with staples of UR culture, provided a memorable night and a hopeful future for what is becoming a tradition for the UR community. I look forward to the event again next year, and I recommend it to any student who thinks he or she might also enjoy such an entertaining experience.
York is a member of the class of 2011.