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It’s time to start talking about Division-I Hockey at UB

A hockey program would be a great addition to UB Athletics


/ The Spectrum The Spectrum

Anytime I get a call from my family or friends back at home, the usual question is, “Doing anything fun this weekend?”

During the winter months, my answer has something to do with a hockey game.

Whether I’m going to a college game at Canisius or Niagara, or if I get cheap tickets to a Sabres game, my winter revolves around hockey.

Hockey is a big part of the sports culture in Buffalo. In the Buffalo area alone, there is an NHL team, a NWHL team, two D-1 teams, a CHL Junior A team and many lower tier college and high school teams. Hockey is one of Buffalo’s most popular sports. It’s a shame we don’t have a team to call ours at UB.

New York has three different hockey teams – Rangers, Islanders and Sabres – all with their own passionate fanbases. UB is full of New Yorkers, which means it’s full of hockey fans.

The hockey passion at this school is crazy. Hockey has potential to be one of the most popular sports on campus, but that’s where the issue is. No hockey team unites us – since people come from all over the state, we all can’t pick a mutual team.

I understand that there may be issues with money and infrastructure for hockey at UB, but it’s time to start a discussion and ask students what we want.

UB would have two natural rivalries between Canisius and Niagara, and possibly RIT. There are students who play and enough students care to attend games and support a new team.

If you think community involvement would be an issue, I think you’re wrong.

Imagine how many alumni that work in Buffalo would love to catch a game. UB could get a huge turnout every Friday and Saturday night.

Think about the sports we have on campus now – football can’t fill the stadium.

I give the student body credit, you guys showed up for the Albany game. After that game though, attendance dropped. At the end of the following Akron game, there were fewer than 20 students in stadium.

Men’s basketball gets a nice draw from students during the semester, but women’s basketball would be lucky to get one section full of students.

This is not an attack on the women’s basketball team or the other sports on campus. I go to games. However, my fellow students don’t go and it’s a shame.

Hockey is a sport that would likely get student support. I understand it requires money that UB Athletics might not have. It requires a rink like the HarborCenter located in downtown Buffalo or Gene Polisseni Center at RIT. Northtown Ice Arena wouldn’t have the capacity to hold enough fans for a D-1 game. Building a rink requires land and I don’t know where that space would come from.

It’s clear it would take time. But we, the UB students, need to start talking about it. The more it’s discussed, the more likely that UB will consider adding a D-1 hockey team in the future.

It may not happen while you are still a student here, but it would give alumni a team they could come back to and support.

Hockey fans’ voices need to be heard at UB. I’m done having to drag friends to college games that our school isn’t playing in. Our school should be participating  

email: sports@ubspectrum.com

Hunter Paige is a contributing writer and can be reached at sports@ubspectrum.com


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