The Beginners Guide to College Hockey – Become a Fanatic Overnight

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Guide to Becoming a College Hockey Fanatic

When students talk about skating through school, they’re not usually talking about college hockey. However, the collegiate sibling of professional ice hockey “coolly” entertains plenty of students, faculty, and alumni. There are also student-athletes, dreaming of a career in the NHL and skating to earn a lucrative contract in addition to their degree. If you’re looking for an orientation to college hockey, our Guide to Becoming a College Hockey Fanatic will bring you up to speed. Class is now in session.

Chills & Thrills

Played throughout the United States, college ice hockey is governed, like every other college sport, by the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA). Sixty schools compete in Division I ice hockey, which is the highest level available to student-athletes. These 60 schools play in one of six conferences, usually based on geographical proximity to help coordinate their schedules. These conferences include the following: Atlantic Hockey Association, Big Ten Conference, ECAC Hockey, Hockey East Association, National Collegiate Hockey Conference, and Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

Each team hopes to end the season by making the playoffs, where 16 teams will then be whittled down to the “Frozen Four.” A team can make things easier by winning their conference, thus earning an automatic spot in the playoffs. The rest of the teams are selected by a committee. At the end of the season, only one team gets the ultimate bragging rights as winners of the NCAA’s Men’s Ice Hockey Championship.

Speedy Students on Skates

College ice hockey games consist of three 20-minute periods. Games progress quickly. There are very few stops in play except for a penalty, the puck leaving play, or a goalie “freezing” the puck (covering the puck with their glove as a defensive tactic). Possession changes frequently, with players assigned offensive and defensive roles.

If regulation time (three periods) ends with a tied game, an overtime period commences. This gives each team five minutes to break the deadlock. If neither team can score within that period, the game either ends in a tie or goes on to a shootout, depending on the conference. A shootout is composed of each team taking alternating penalty shots (one skater against the goalie for a chance to score). If the shootout is tied after three rounds, it continues in a sudden death format where the first team to score, without the other team scoring, wins.

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The Lineup

Each team places six student-athletes on the ice.

  • Goalie: Their home is between the posts of the goal, and their sole responsibility is to keep the puck out of the net. Two standouts from the 2015-2016 season are Boston College’s Thatcher Demko and Quinnipiac’s Michael Garteig.
  • Defensemen: Assigned to patrol the left or right side of the ice, defensemen are more than just enforcers. They are responsible for helping their team to counter when they’ve stopped the opponent. Michigan’s Michael Downing and Boston University’s Matt Grzelcyk represent two astute defenders.
  • Forwards: Responsible for leading the attack, these players are either on the wings – left or right – or playing in a center role. Michigan’s Kyle Connor, the leading scorer this past season, plays the position as well as anyone in college ice hockey right now.

Who is Icy-Hot?

So which schools should earn your attention in the world of college ice hockey? Here are a few:

  • North Dakota: One of the most decorated college programs (eight titles, 17 conference championships), the Fighting Hawks are the 2015-2016 season’s overall winner. It’s always hardest to repeat, and with a 16-year gap between this most recent championship and their last, they’ll be trying their hardest to book a return trip to next season’s finals.
  • Boston University: The Terriers are five-time champions and are frequently found in the “Frozen Four” at the end of the season. But when will they get their next championship?
  • University of Michigan: The Wolverines, competing for over 90 years, have nine championships to their name. Their last tournament victory came in 1998. Will the drought end soon, or are they going to keep watching other teams lift the trophy?

Play On!

Ice hockey is a great way to experience student athletics on college campuses. It’s a sport that moves fast and hits hard. These speedy students, skating all over the ice with incredible strength and pace, provide an exciting diversion from studying for that next test or final exam. If you want to stay warm while cheering on your school at the rink, head to Fanatics.com to get the best official licensed team merchandise and apparel.

Sources

Top College Football Stadiums of 2011

College football is quickly approaching. No matter what team you root for on gameday, we recommend visiting these Top College Football Stadiums for the 2011 NCAA season! The following list takes into account scenic views, current stadium capacity, past lists of top stadiums, unique facts about each, and overall game-day atmosphere.

#20 Falcon Stadium, US Air Force Academy

Falcon Stadium

Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado

Capacity: 46,692

Unique Facts

  • Rampart Range of the Rocky Mountains is the gameday backdrop
  • The mascot is a peregrine falcon named “Mach 1,” which means the speed of sound – the peregrine can fly at a speed of 200 miles per hour and dives over the heads of Air Force fans
  • 2nd highest elevation in Division I-A football – over 6,620 feet above sea level

Shop Air Force Falcons Gear


#19 Folsom Field, University of Colorado

Folsom Field

Location: Boulder, Colorado

Capacity: 53,613

Unique Facts

  • Another high elevation – 3rd highest elevation in NCAA football – 5,360 feet above sea level
  • Flatiron mountain range is the background setting
  • A massive recycling effort in 2008 made it the first “zero-waste” stadium in the NCAA

Shop Colorado Buffaloes Gear


#18 LaVell Edwards Stadium, Brigham Young University

LaVell Edwards Stadium

Location: Provo, Utah

Capacity: 63,725

Unique Facts

  • Mt. Timpanogos and Wasatch Mountain Range are the background views
  • Part of the largest collection of North American fossils were stored under the bleachers until 2005 – now displayed in the university’s museum
  • Previously known as Cougar Stadium, head coach LaVell Edwards retired in 2000 when the stadium was renamed

Shop BYU Cougars Gear


#17 Ohio Stadium, Ohio State University

Ohio Stadium

Location: Columbus, Ohio

Capacity: 102,329

Unique Facts

  • 4th largest football stadium in the US
  • No field lights are installed. Special lighting is used during night games
  • The stadium is a concert venue to some of the biggest names in music like U2 and The Rolling Stones

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#16 Husky Stadium, University of Washington

Husky Stadium

Location: Seattle, Washington

Capacity: 72,500

Unique Facts

  • Open side of the stadium looks out on Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountains
  • 70% of the seats are covered by metal roofs between the end zones
  • Noise level has measured 135 decibels…loudest recorded ever

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#15 Frank Howard Field at Memorial Stadium “Death Valley”, Clemson University

Frank Howard Field at Memorial Stadium

Location: Clemson, South Carolina

Capacity: 80,301

Unique Facts

  • 2nd largest stadium in the ACC
  • Hosted concerts to popular music artists like Pink Floyd and Rage Against the Machine
  • “Howard’s Rock” is a rock given to Frank Howard by a friend claiming to originally be from Death Valley, California. The rock was eventually placed in an encasement and the Clemson Army ROTC protects the rock 24 hours prior to the Clemson/SC game every year

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#14 Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn University

Jordan-Hare Stadium

Location: Auburn, Alabama

Capacity: 87,451

Unique Facts

  • Stadium is named for the winningest coach in Auburn football, Ralph “Shug” Jordan, and Cliff Hare a member of the 1st football team and president of the Southern Conference
  • 1st SEC school to install an HD video display and 2nd in the NCAA
  • Known for great gameday atmospheres and one of the more intimidating places for any opponent

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#13 Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium, Florida State University

Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium

Location: Tallahassee, Florida

Capacity: 82,300

Unique Facts

  • Largest continuous structure made of brick in the US
  • Field named for head coach Bobby Bowden and stadium named for former president at time of construction
  • Bronze sculpture resembling Chief Osceola and Renegade, FSU’s mascots, stands 19′ tall outside stadium. At sunset before home games, the Marching Chiefs play as Osceola’s spear is lit on fire

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#12 Camp Randall Stadium, University of Wisconsin

Camp Randall Stadium

Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Capacity: 80,321

Unique Facts

  • Oldest college football stadium – first formed in 1895 and completed in 1917
  • 5th largest stadium in the Big Ten Conference
  • Built on the Camp Randall grounds, former training camp of the Union Army during the Civil War

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#11 Tiger Stadium, Louisiana State University

Tiger Stadium, LSU

Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Capacity: 92,542

Unique Facts

  • Home of the most intimidating mascot in college football, Mike The Tiger (a real tiger)
  • One of the worst places for visiting teams because of the loudest atmosphere in stadium history
  • New 27×80 HD Video Board

Shop LSU Tigers Gear


#10 Michigan Stadium “The Big House”, University of Michigan

The Big House

Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Capacity: 109,901

Unique Facts

  • Largest stadium in the US and 3rd largest in the world
  • First night football game in Michigan Stadium history will occur Sept 10, 2011, against Notre Dame
  • Size of gameday crowds almost matches Ann Arbor’s population

Shop Michigan Wolverines Gear


#9 Beaver Stadium, Penn State University

Beaver Stadium, Penn State

Location: University Park, Pennsylvania

Capacity: 107,282

Unique Facts

  • 2nd largest stadium in the US and 4th largest in the world
  • The WhiteOut occurs when students wear all white during night games and the same for the WhiteHouse during day games
  • First stadium to be included in Google Street View

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#8 Sanford Stadium, University of Georgia

Sanford Stadium

Location: Athens, Georgia

Capacity: 92,746

Unique Facts

  • Privet hedges surround the field for not only cosmetic reasons, but also crowd control – originally planted in 1929, removed and restored in 1996
  • One of the best mascots, Uga, descends from the original white bulldog and has an air-conditioned doghouse with bags of ice inside
  • Field has only been rushed one time in history in 2000 when the Bulldogs beat their rival, the Tennessee Vols, for the first time since 1988 – the goal posts were also torn down

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#7 Kyle Field, Texas A&M University

Kyle Field

Location: College Station, Texas

Capacity: 83,002

Unique Facts

  • Kyle Field press box has won many honors with accomodations for hundreds of press members
  • The entire press box sways during the Aggie War Hymn
  • The Zone contains a sports museum, multiple seating levels, and a graveyard right outside for the Aggie mascot

Shop Texas A&M Aggies Gear


#6 Autzen Stadium, University of Oregon

Autzen Stadium, Oregon

Location: Eugene, Oregon

Capacity: 54,000

Unique Facts

  • One of the loudest stadiums in college football with steep stands, seats close to the field, and a roof that overhangs
  • Located near Willamette River and next to Alton Baker Park
  • 74 consecutive sellouts dating back to 1999

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#5 Memorial Stadium, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Memorial Stadium

Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Capacity: 81,067

Unique Facts

  • Continuous NCAA record of consecutive sellouts…now at 311
  • ‘Huskers fans are some of the most loyal in college football and the stands are always filled with a “Sea of Red”
  • The stadium name honors Nebraska natives who served during the Civil and Spanish-American Wars, as well as 751 who died in World War I

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#4 Bryant-Denny Stadium, University of Alabama

Bryant-Denny Stadium

Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Capacity: 101,821

Unique Facts

  • Originally named Denny Stadium after George Denny, former president – changed in 1975 to honor famous past head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant
  • 2nd largest stadium in the SEC and 5th largest in the US
  • In 2010, South End Zone expanded and the new seats sold out quickly prior to the 2010 season

Shop Alabama Crimson Tide Gear


#3 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium “The Swamp”, University of Florida

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

Location: Gainesville, Florida

Capacity: 88,548

Unique Facts

  • Can we say Home Field Advantage? The Swamp is below ground level with enclosed playing areas on every side, which makes humid climate temperatures exceed 100 degrees and screaming fans even louder
  • Large bronze statues of the three Heisman Trophy winners placed outside the stadium in April 2011: Steve Spurrier, Danny Wuerffel and Tim Tebow
  • The Gator Chomp symbolizes an alligator’s mouth and fans use this as a gesture to support the team, occuring when the Pride of the Sunshine plays a two-note music sequence from the film Jaws

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#2 Notre Dame Stadium, University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame Stadium

Location: Notre Dame, Indiana

Capacity: 80,795

Unique Facts

  • Known as “The House That Rockne Built”, Knute Rockne was a coach who popularized the forward pass and helped the stadium’s construction project get off the ground
  • The playing surface has always consisted of natural grass
  • “Rudy”, a biographical film about Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger who dreamed of playing Notre Dame football, was the first movie shot on campus since “Knute Rockne, All American”
  • First night game since 1991 will be held on October 22, 2011, against USC

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#1 Neyland Stadium, University of Tennessee

Neyland Stadium

Location: Knoxville, Tennessee

Capacity: 102,455

Unique Facts

  • General Robert Neyland made the Vols a football powerhouse from 1926-1952
  • One of 70 stadiums in the US bid for the 2018 or 2022 World Cup
  • The largest SEC stadium, 3rd largest in the US and 6th largest in the world
  • Unique endzone paint with an orange and white checkerboard
  • Located on the Tennessee River, The Volunteer Navy tailgates (or sailgates) outside of Neyland each gameday
  • “Rocky Top” is one of the most well-known, repetitively played songs during any college football game

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