There's no excuse to miss this
Published: Friday, February 11, 2011
Updated: Friday, February 11, 2011 00:02
There are probably better things to do on a Sunday.
Sleep in after a long Saturday night would be one. Stay warm and hang out inside would be another. There are plenty of reasons to skip the men's and women's hockey games this Sunday at Rentschler Field, but no excuse to miss this event.
It is not often that hockey programs get the opportunity to take part in an event like this, let alone UConn's program. Outdoor events like this are meant for Michigan, Minnesota or North Dakota. Not Connecticut. In fact, the only reason Boston College and Boston University were able to play outdoor hockey last season was because the rink was set up for a bigger event at Fenway Park: the Winter Classic between the Bruins and Flyers. Although Sunday's event is only possible because of the AHL's Connecticut Whale and its ownership group, it's still uncommon for teams like UConn to get the chance to host a game in the elements.
The men's team had a surprising start, but they have since fallen on the normal hard times. Then again, their players aren't under scholarship. The women started out miserably this season after being Hockey East runner ups last year and just missing the NCAA tournament. Now they are back in the thick of things, in third place in the conference, but still sport a sub .500 record. Neither the UConn's men nor the women's hockey team are ranked in the top 10 or competing for a national championship. No BCS bowl berth will be clinched at Rentschler Field this Sunday.
The men play in-state foe Sacred Heart in an Atlantic Hockey matchup at 1 p.m. The women follow with a 4 p.m. contest against Hockey East opponent Providence. It's no Bean Pot, but then again, has the Bean Pot ever been played in such a unique and special setting as this?
This will not be an annual event. This will not make recruits want to come to play for the Huskies and make the hockey programs in Storrs a national hub for the collegiate game. But this should make people want to go to a hockey game. It should make students want to check out the hockey teams if they haven't been to a game yet. It should make fans want to freeze their tails off on Rentschler's metal bleachers watching men and women play some puck.
This is a once-in-a-college opportunity to see your school host an event that's taken the college and professional game by storm. It's not pond hockey, but it's a throwback atmosphere. Until Freitas Ice Forum was built, the UConn Ice Rink was home to the hockey team. It had a roof. That's about it.
The wind would gust through the outdoor rink, the same one current men's coach Bruce Marshall played in as a Husky. For two teams that play second and third fiddle to almost every other team on campus, they deserve this. They deserve a moment that will last a lifetime. They deserve a good crowd, with a student section, Sunday in East Hartford.
People should want to go.
There should be no better thing to do on a Sunday.