ESPN2 showed the Miami/Northern Illinois football game on Sunday night. Not sure how many American households tuned in that night, but it looked like everybody in Oxford, Ohio was home watching Redhawk-great Big Ben bumble his way thru the Stillers/Bolts game. The stands were virtually empty. That's kind of how I remember Redskin football back in my undergraduate days - the Tom Reed days. Think I figured out why no students were at Sunday's game - they were suffering from a hockey hangover.
Monday night, I tuned in to watch the re-broadcast from Saturday of the 2006 Ice Breaker Invitational tournament finale. Miami vs. Vermont. Horrible game. Miami took 39 penalty minutes and gave the Catamounts 17 power play opportunities. Vermont took their share of penalties as well, so they game was really unwatchable. Minnesota Wild prospect, and Miami captain, Ryan Jones, has some Erik Cole in his game, but he and the boys played with no composure or discipline - kind of like our Hurricanes to date.
The stands were packed and I'm guessing hockey is the sport of choice for this generation of Miami students. The new Goggin Ice Center looks fantastic. Check out the slide show tour of the facility - you will be impressed. Redhawk hockey alum and recently retired NHLer, Brian Savage, contributed cash and design expertise to the home locker room. Brian wanted Redhawk players to enjoy an NHL-caliber locker room experience. I'm guessing former Redhawk Kevyn Adams probably had some say on the design of arena medical facilities. Like Savage, I'm sure he'd want the players have an NHL-caliber practice-fight cut stitching and broken bone icing and taping so you don't miss the third period of game seven experiences.
I played intramural hockey (once got boarded by steroid-enhanced All American nose tackle and deceased former pro wrestler, Flyin' Brian Pillman), and won a campus co-ed broomball championship in the old Goggin building. That facility was built back in the 70's and I remember it being real dark with a low ceiling and nasty bench seating for hockey games. Even back in the 80's when Redhawk hockey was in it's infancy, the sport enjoyed a ton of support from die-hard fans. My generation packed the 2,000 or so seats for every game.
It's good to see the huge amount of energy behind hockey at Miami. World-class facilities help attract world-class hockey players. The Redhawks finished the season atop the CCHA standings (beating Jack Johnson, his nutty pop and his beloved Maize and Blue twice) and made it to the NCAA playoffs. Look for the Redhawks to become more of a force in college hockey. God I hope they whack Michigan again.