Most sports at various levels are known to have rich traditions that have stuck for years, and college hockey is no different.
From flying tennis balls and flying fish to loud bands and cheers, college hockey has a few interesting (and sometimes strange) traditions that stand out.
Here are some of the most notable traditions:
Dartmouth and flying tennis balls
Yes, it sounds as absurd as it is, but when Dartmouth scores its first goal of the game against Princeton, the crowd throws tennis balls onto the ice.
The tradition began in 1998, when a student at Princeton threw a tennis ball at Dartmouth’s goalie after he gave up a goal. The strange moment was not forgotten, and now Big Green fans throw tennis balls on the ice after their team scores its first goal while playing Princeton.
Take a look at the craziness from this season when Dartmouth beat Picton 5-0 on Jan. 6.
— NCAA Ice Hockey (@NCAAIceHockey) January 8, 2017
And here’s the goal in 2013.
Throwing of the fish in New Hampshire
The NHL’s Detroit Red Wings have flying octopuses, and last season we say the resurrection of rats in Florida with the Panthers. However, New Hampshire has been also known to get the ice a little messy as well. According to Bob Norton, a former UNH assistant coach,
“The fish-tossing tradition began in the early 1970s. It goes back to when we were playing a Division II team, and our program had gone way past theirs. I remember (the UNH fans) threw out this little dinky thing and they called it a Division II fish. I guess they were trying to tell them they weren’t worthy of a first-rate fish.”
After the Wildcats score their first goal of the game, a fish is flung on the ice from the crowd, a tradition that began in the 1970s. According to the university, the interesting moment caught the attention of a fraternity on campus, which would continue the tradition for years.
The fish throwing still occurs during home games at the Whittemore Center, even once hitting an assistant coach for Yale. And the fraternity in charge of making sure there are flying fish even gets a donation from the local fish market.
Occasionally there are even some difficulties with doing this.
Cornell and Harvard are also known to have some flying fish and even tying a chicken to the goal post. The bitter rivalry dates back to the 1909-10 season and has continued throughout the years. The origin of the tradition supposedly derives from Cornell having a College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Harvard fans poking fun at that. However, both schools have participated in the tradition over the years.
Bands and cheers
This may sound normal to a college football fans, but there is just something different when you have the sounds of a live band echoing through an arena. This aspect of college hockey is just part of the atmosphere, and something that makes the sport unique. Check out some good ones below, including Michigan Tech’s Blue Skirt Waltz, Michigan’s fight song and Maine’s Stein Song:
Oh, and there is some dancing involved too, like Wisconsin fans dancing to the song “Tequila.”
And second intermission at Ralph Englestad Arena in North Dakota becomes a quick Coldplay concert.
Student sections have also been known to chant “sieve” in order to psych out a goalie. In case you were wondering, a sieve is a utensil used in cooking that allows liquids and particles through its mesh frame. So yeah, if you are a goalie, it’s not a compliment.
Ringing of the bell at Lake Superior State
After a Lake Superior victory, all the players take off their skates but leave some gear on to head over to the arena’s concourse to ring the victory bell. It’s loud, but you have to admit a pretty cool tradition.
This could be a reach on the “tradition,” but one can’t deny that the flow of various college hockey players has been memorable over the years and will certainly continue. Check out some of the best below:
The semifinals and finals of the NCAA tournament was coined the Frozen Four, which began in 1999. Last season, North Dakota beat Quinnipiac in Tampa, Florida. The Frozen Four this year will be held in Chicago at the United Center.