Club hockey is a favorite spectator sport at Norwich, but fans’ behavior is under watch

Club hockey games are a scene on campus where students and rooks come to be rowdy and cheer on their team and friends. “It’s an unbelievable atmosphere to play in front of,” said one of the club hockey players.

But things may have gotten a little too rowdy one too many times, and this season’s end may have brought rook attendance to a close after concerns were raised by school officials about fan conduct.

Club hockey is one of the top club sports on campus, and it competes with the varsity level teams when it come to fan attendance.

“Not playing on the varsity team here, it’s pretty awesome to get the number of fans we do at this school for just a club sport,” said Jacob Boylan, a 20 year old junior from Manchester, N.H., majoring in criminal justice, and a forward on the team.

The team competes against many other schools around the area, from UVM to St. Joseph’s College in Maine, and plays in different tournaments as well.

Ethan Melia, who is a 19-year-old freshman from Shrewsbury, Mass., majoring in sports medicine, said, “It’s a good time to get away from Rookdom and hang out with friends and be loud.”

Not only is the game sure to be entertaining but watching the crowd is an excitement of its own; there’s no telling what they will do or say.

“It’s a mix of upperclassmen and underclassman being loud and rowdy, which is my favorite part and hearing what they yell and chant,” said Matt Mazzola a 19-year-old freshman from Ridgefield, Conn., majoring in computer security.

The fans become very emotionally involved, chanting at the opposing team to disturb their focus and give the Cadets the edge they need to win.

“Teams are nervous and intimidated by the fans,” said Boylan, “and it gives the team more energy and adrenaline to play.”

Currently the crowds at the games are under the watchful eye of the university. The conduct of rooks at the games has also come under closer scrutiny of the Commandant’s staff. The reason for this added attention from university officials is the result of several events, including a particular club game where some of the fans became too rowdy and issued vulgar chants at the opposing team.

“Our cadre always reminds us to be responsible and to not act wild or say vulgar things or we might get banned from the games,” said Mazzola.

Melia said: “My cadre are also saying that too, and that it is a privilege to go to those games too.”

As a result, the crowds are quieter and less wild and the vulgarity of the chants have mostly been eliminated. Despite this, the games still have large fan turnouts.

“Club games will always have great turnouts, even though it is not as rowdy as it once was, it is still as awesome to play in front of the fans,” said Boylan.

To get fans and students involved in the games, there are special nights to dress up and show off costumes according to a theme.

A couple of weeks ago, it was Hawaiian night, and there was an ugly sweater night just before the Christmas break.

“It’s a lot of fun to get together and go to one of the games dressed up; the whole rugby team dressed up in ugly sweaters and all went together,” said Taualupe Tau, a 19-year-old sophomore from East Palo Alto, C.A., majoring in communications.

Events like these continue to make club hockey games entertaining and a continuing place for students to come together.

Boylan said, “Whole rook platoons come down to cheer on their rook brothers or sisters that play, and upperclassmen come and watch their friends as well.”

Being on a campus with not a whole lot to do in the surrounding area, athletic events and club games are a huge part of being entertained on campus, fans say.

This element of rare excitement is why fans get into the game and why sport teams on this campus receive overwhelming fan support and turnouts.

“There’s not a whole lot you can do around here on campus. I enjoy watching hockey and the physical play of the game, and hanging out with my friends,” said Tau.

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