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Muzzling The Band Is A Great Way To Make Conte Forum’s Declining Atmosphere Even Worse

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What is BC Athletics doing?

Boston College v Wisconsin
Brian Gibbons gives the BC Pep Band some love after winning the 2010 NCAA Championship in Detroit
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Ed. Note: We spoke with BC Athletics after this article was posted, and they’ve heard you. The BC Pep Band will be playing the fight song after goals going forward! Credit to Martin Jarmond and crew; it’s clear they listen to and appreciate fan feedback.


The best part about college sports — the whole point of college sports, the reason why people are so passionate about college sports — is the “college” part. Most (though admittedly not all) of the really enthusiastic fans, and especially those in college hockey, attended the universities they support.

The pride is in the university. The best college hockey experiences are ones with school colors splashed everywhere, giant murals on the walls, raucous student sections, and great — or even just goofy (love you, Ivies) — bands.

So that’s why many of us were agog at the realization that BC Athletics had decided try to turn around a Conte Forum atmosphere that has already been on the decline by taking the “Boston College” out of Boston College Hockey. At this weekend’s season opener against Wisconsin, BC traditions built over decades were stamped out in one day in the interest of, as one former band member called it, “Going Pro” with the atmosphere.

That’s right — in case you missed it, BC Athletics decided that Boston College Hockey should not have the Boston College fight song played after Boston College goals. I don’t think I need to tell you how infuriating this is.

A few years ago, there was an attempt to stamp out the goal chant ([cowbell] Ooh SIEVE [cowbell] Ooh SIEVE [cowbell] Ooh SIEVE [cowbell] Ooh SIEVE, Millan, Millan, Millan, you suck, at life, and goaltending, it’s all your fault, it’s all your fault, it’s all your fault, it’s all your fault...) by yanking the cowbell out of the pep band to shut it down. There was enough of a backlash that they at least allowed someone in the student section to play the cowbell to start the chant.

Now, I will concede that I can at least understand the sentiment they were going for here. “You suck” isn’t great, they want more of a family atmosphere, fine. The times they are a’changing. But what in the name of Johnny Hockey is the purpose of getting rid of For Boston after goals?? The pep band was reduced to playing a few songs here and there during timeouts, and that’s it. Even the Alma Mater was played over by the PA system after the game.

Why?? Did someone in athletics pay for some marketing group to determine that the Band is not a part of the college hockey experience? The whole atmosphere was trashed by this decision. Students were sitting during game play. There was no fight song. No Alma Mater. No goal chant. No... anything... to get the crowd buzzing after a goal to give us anything resembling home-ice advantage.

Yes, the lack of trophies the last few years, Conte’s declining year-over-year attendance, and the general increased apathy among sports fans nationwide all have their parts to play here. But taking the one thing that makes American college sports unique in the world — university pride — and nixing it from the experience isn’t just stupid, it’s embarrassing. And even worse, it’s short-sighted to do it right when the men’s hockey team is looking at having a resurgent season that would bring the crowds back in and improve the experience with the product on the ice!

AD Martin Jarmond addressed the feedback on Twitter, and it really wasn’t the best.

With all due respect to Martin Jarmond, who I have a ton of admiration for, nobody is going to a college hockey game for an AHL experience.

Under no circumstances should anyone think that it’s a good idea to get rid of the BC fight song. I can’t think of a single person who thinks that canned PA music after a goal will “enhance energy and atmosphere” in a way that playing the fight song wouldn’t. BC Athletics needs to re-evaluate this, and quickly. Hopefully there has been enough negative feedback already for Athletics to reconsider.