Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Back in Fall of 2003, long before I started writing columns for the local newspapers, I was a weekly opinion columnist for the Brockport Stylus. Ocassionally I'd write about sports issues (including one that infuriated alot of people: why soccer is evil).

One column I wrote was used to rope-in more fans to the hockey games, even though there was good attendance at the time. Well, here's the column. It got me thinking about maybe writing a guest letter to the Stylus in a couple of weeks to get the fans pumped up about the season.

By Bob Confer

What could be a better way to spend a Friday night than watching someone get his face bashed in by an angry jock...or witnessing an unsuspecting soul having his head smashed into a wall…or dodging a projectile errantly launched into a crowd of you and your closest friends at 90 miles per hour?

Sound like fun?

It is!

You can witness this and more as the men’s hockey team hosts its first home game of the semester this Friday, marking the beginning of the only sport season that truly matters (I offer my apologies to the rest of Brockport athletics).

This is the time of year that Tuttle North Ice Arena becomes a veritable Wrigley Field on ice. Despite housing a team that has for years dwelled in the lower ranks of the SUNYAC, the arena is alive and electric on weekends during the fall and winter. Our bleachers are full of rabid fans showing support for what is the most entertaining team fielded by Brockport Athletics.

What draws such support?

Maybe it’s the whole feeling of being “right there”. Ice arenas are marvels of modern architecture, constructed so beautifully that you’re seated within a few feet of the battle. You get to see the hits up close. You can actually feel the checks. You can hear the various noises of war, like slapshots, grunts, and X-rated trash-talk. You’re so close to the action that you actually can, unfortunately, smell the moldy equipment and bacteria-laden jocks. Heck, there even exists the chance of getting smacked in the head by a misdirected slapshot.

Maybe it’s the brutality of hockey that attracts the masses. Besides football, no other intercollegiate sport can even be considered violent. Nothing beats the sights and sounds of a nasty check. Oh, the beauty of a well-timed hit and the limp body flattened against the plexiglass! Besides such legal violence, we occasionally receive a nice break in the action punctuated by a couple of roundhouse punches to the chin or gut of an arrogant enemy. Though not as nasty or as drawn-out as NHL fights, these fights are entertaining nonetheless and offer the best chance to witness a rumble on campus.

Maybe it’s the simplicity of hockey that brings in the spectators. To the uninitiated, hockey is limited in its strategy and rules. It’s so basic that even the most pedestrian of sports fans can comprehend what’s going on: boy hits puck, boy stops puck, boy hits boy, boy sits in penalty box. Other sports aren’t that simple. Take football as an example. So many nuances exist that the average woman who could care less about sports cares considerably less about football. Hockey, on the other hand, is so comprehensible that even your increasingly-confused grandmother will eat it up.

Maybe it’s the testosterone that attracts the fans. In recent years the attendance at Brockport hockey games has swelled to bleacher-stuffing capacity. Most of these fans - sometimes three quarters of them - are females. These chicks really dig hockey players. They arrive in bunches, often quite dolled-up, hoping to catch a glimpse of, and attract, dudes that they consider the epitome of “gorgeous”.

It may be difficult to pin down just what does attract the fans to Brockport Hockey. The point is, fans love it. Make an effort to attend either of this weekend’s games. You’ll see what the hubbub is about, and you, too, will become a diehard fan. Who knows, maybe this will be the year our boys surprise us and dominate the SUNYAC.

Go Golden Eagles!!