We could have a magical season in store on the Heights this winter. If you were in attendance for the Boston College men’s hockey home opener on Saturday, you already know what I’m talking about. The fan support from current BC students this weekend was wild. They set an all-time school record for student attendance in Conte Forum (3,817) as the Eagles defeated Long Island, 4-2, in an exciting game.
Not only was the attendance big, but it was early, too. Students were filing into the building well before puck drop, setting the tone for a loud night full of chants and cheering. From huge roars of celebration when goals were scored, to loud “oohs” and “aahs” when BC just narrowly missed a chance, to chants of “Let’s Go Eagles”, “F*** BU”, and even “Fire Hafley”. The student population was as boisterous for this game as it has been in years. And it’s only LIU!
This all comes at a perfect time, too. While student football crowds have also been impressive these past couple of years, they’ve been as inconsistent with staying for the whole game as the football team has been inconsistent in putting up winning performances. But this hockey team is different. With the arrival of a stacked freshman class and the return of star sophomore forward Cutter Gauthier, BC men’s hockey is primed for a kind of dazzling season we haven’t seen in years. You can read more here about why we’re all so excited for what this team could do.
As a graduate of the BC Class of 2020, I know a thing or two about disappointing hockey teams and crowds. The Newhook/Boldy/Knight teams of a few years ago were fun to watch, but the fans never really showed up for them and those teams rarely delivered in tournament play. Despite winning the Hockey East regular season title in 3 of my 4 years on the Heights, BC men’s hockey made 0 NCAA Tournament appearances and won 0 Beanpots in that time (albeit with the 2020 NCAA tournament being cancelled). They had the talent and coaching to win games on a consistent basis against weaker competition, but never enough top end talent to break through with the best of the best. That can all change this year.
Maybe it’s the stacked recruits. Maybe the students are yearning for a winner after the football team has disappointed them so much. Whatever the reasons are, the student fan support is finally here. A combination of team success and fan support is what makes college athletics so great. We haven’t had much of it lately at BC. But with the fans finally coming out for this hockey team, I’m waiting with baited breath to see how far these Eagles can go. The atmosphere for games against #1 BU, #3 Denver, and more have the potential to blow the roof off of the place.