Ice arena thaws college, city relations

Sure, October may have just begun, but that doesn’t mean the buildup for hockey season hasn’t. Students and Oswego residents got their first taste of hockey this season when the Syracuse Crunch played the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Wednesday night at the Campus Center Ice Arena.

Ice hockey is one of the only events that brings both the students and the community together. For the majority of the year, the community hates our guts due to our loud house parties and public recklessness. But when the puck drops on center ice, we become a family and share in our love for the Lakers and hate for the opposing team.

From late October to early March, thousands of Laker fans, both students and residents, flock to the Campus Center Ice Arena and tolerate one another for hours on end. Sure, the residents probably don’t enjoy the constant swearing by students or the joy the students take in watching players crush each other into the boards. I’m willing to bet that some of the residents at one point acted the same way when they were younger.

How can you not like hockey when you live in the Mecca of snow country? Oswego State has the nicest arena in Division III and is comparable to many Division I arenas. It proves as a great recruiting tool for talented hockey players, allowing the Lakers to be a powerhouse each and every year. No one at this university should ever take the arena for granted, as we are lucky enough to get the opportunity to skate on it when it is not in use by the players or ice skating team. Having skated on the ice myself, I have to say the feeling I get is incredible. Circling around the ice, you get a great look at what the Laker players see when they are locked in a fierce competition with the opposing team.

The student section at Oswego has to be one of the greatest in Division III. Many SUNYAC schools can’t compare with the atmosphere that the Oswego State students create inside the Campus Center Ice Arena. While I have yet to witness a game in Plattsburgh, I have been to a couple Geneseo games and their fans are comparable to ours. But unlike Geneseo fans, Oswego State fans show up for every home game, not just the marquee matchups.

It’s a special feeling being inside the Campus Center Ice Arena on game night. While I don’t have the liberty of sitting amongst the fans in the student section, I have the opportunity to watch over the action from the press box. Perhaps the greatest part of the hockey games is the post game interviews I get to have with players and coaches. For a team that has that kind of talent, it’s amazing how humble they are after a big win or a crushing defeat. The coaches never take credit for the team’s performance, but will take the blame when something doesn’t go the way they practiced. Players are level-headed and refuse to let their egos shine when talking to the media. They are superstars around campus, easily identifiable with their black athletic jackets with the Laker logo present across the left breast.

If you are a freshman or have never been to a Lakers hockey game yet in your college career, you will have to make a pilgrimage to the Campus Center Ice Arena. And if you’ve never experienced an Oswego State/Plattsburgh game then you aren’t a true hockey fan.