Cornell hockey is the equivalent of Michigan football, Indiana basketball, Cal St. Fullerton baseball. It is the premiere sport on campus, all the students know about it and how the team is doing even if they hate the sport of hockey. The Cornell-Harvard game brings out the same intensity as that of a Oklahoma-Texas football game (otherwise known as the Red River Shootout). If you read the Sunday NY Times sports section a couple weeks ago you would have seen a half page article on the rivalry and the 25-year plus tradition of throwing fish (specifically haddock) on the ice when Harvard comes to Ithaca. The Lynah Faithful, the nickname for those who attend Cornell hockey games, have been so spirited for their team that last year’s Sports Illustrated issue that previewed college hockey ranked Lynah Rink (Cornell’s home arena) as the toughest place to play for visiting teams. There are many reasons for this: the small 3000+ seat arena, the dedicated “townies”, and of course the student body who fills half of the stands. The student section is known for their unified chants that never end for the entire game, two of which involve curse words. Despite an increase of 100% for the cost of hockey season tickets the rink is still sold out for the season and students still camp out for a weekend to get tickets.
Unfortunately our dedication is being punished not rewarded. Fans are now in fear of being kicked out of games and having their tickets revoked for the entire season simply for cursing. What’s worse, when good (if students who curse are considered bad) students abide by demands and don’t curse for those two chants but rather use alternative phrases like “rough em up” they are still kicked out because the ushers thought they heard a word that sounds similar to rough. Then when you try to deny it they bring in a police officer which makes the scene all the more intimidating and if you continue to deny the false charge they will write you up for lying/resisting arrest. Now students attend games in fear of saying anything when anything happens. I guess on the bright side at least we’re not getting tasered. To add to that, at this year’s Cornell-Harvard game ushers and officers did a pat down of everyone who attended the game to make sure they didn’t have fish to throw on the ice. Nice way of trying to kill a more than two decade old tradition, Gene Nighman. That’s like Florida State University banning the Seminole mascot and the horse from running across the field and sticking a spear in the ground at the 50-yard line. A tip of the hat goes to the handful of students that somehow snuck the fish into the rink and threw them on the ice. Never let The Man repress you. I guess what bothers me the most is that this is hockey. First off, whatever sport athletes curse and trash talk on the playing field all the time. In hockey, part of the game is violence. Let’s not joke ourselves, the physicality on the ice and especially the fights are not conflicts that would go unpunished on the streets. I could understand if this was golf or figure skating. It’s not part of the game to trash talk or try to intimidate. But this is hockey. Hockey is physical, just as much as football. The sport itself promotes excitement and rambunctiousness. If you’re going to pad us down like we’re on line waiting to be incarcerated or take away our tickets for the entire season Mr. Nighman, you might as well take checking out of hockey. Or better yet suspend the players for the entire season every time they curse on the ice or get two minutes for roughing.