Nov 13, 2013, 10:14 PM EDT
In BuzzFeed-like fashion, and with the help of Notre Dame hockey alum Kevin Nugent (’13), I have compiled a list of 28 reasons you should love Notre Dame hockey. In (mostly) no particular order, here they are.
1. The Compton Family Ice Arena
If you’ve never been, you need to go, and if you’ve ever been, you know that you never want to leave.
2. The Hockey Band
What’s so great about the Notre Dame Hockey Band? They’re the most spirited band out there, and since they sit in the student section, they keep the Compton loud and proud. Notre Dame hockey alum Eric Ringel (’12) said that he loves the band because they always make sure a kid gets any puck that leaves the rink by chanting “Give it to a kid!” at whomever picked it up.
3. The Coaching Staff
Head coach Jeff Jackson sports a 185-110-33 coaching record at Notre Dame, and has led the team to three CCHA tournament titles, five NCAA Tournament appearances and two NCAA Frozen Four appearances. Associate coach Paul Pooley played hockey for Ohio State University, where he was named an Academic All-American. He’s also the first OSU player to have a retired number. Associate coach Andy Slaggert has been with Notre Dame as a player and coach for a grand total of 23 years. That’s right. 23. He basically owns the place.
4. Tony Rolinski
KN: “He’s our strength trainer. Tony’s an absolute legend. He’s the kind of guy you never want to let down.”
5. “Straight Outta Compton” T-shirts
Only Notre Dame could pull this off.
6. The Student Section
As a former, and slightly biased, member of the student section, may I just say, we’re the best. Ever. Also, special appearance from yours truly in the photo. (I’m behind one of the glass supports and the watermark…)
7. They’re really good at keeping secrets…
…so good actually that I’m not really even supposed to say what the secrets are about. I don’t know what any of them actually are, and I’ve been assured that I never will because no one outside the team has ever known. Look at them swapping secrets like I don’t know they’re up to something. I’m onto you guys.
8. The Chants
Skip to 1:26 to see my personal favorite. Looooooooser. You let the whole team down!
9. The team is multi-talented…
They all are (at least sort of) good at soccer-related things since they play “Kicks” before their games (see photo above). Mario Lucia has played the trumpet for 6 years, Steven Fogarty is fluent in French, and several of the guys–including Eric Johnson, Mike Voran, and Steven Summerhays–play the guitar. I’m sure the talent reaches far beyond that, too.
10. …and multicultural.
The current Notre Dame team currently represents 3 countries outside the U.S. Peter Schneider is from Austria, Shayne Taker and Chad Katunar are both from British Columbia and Thomas DiPauli was born in Italy. Formerly, the Irish have had members from Alberta, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Sweden.
11. They’re SUPER involved in community outreach and philanthropy, including Practice on the Pond…
12. …the Teddy Bear Toss…
(Fans are encouraged to bring a teddy bear to a game of the team’s choosing around Christmastime to throw onto the ice during one of the intermissions. The teddy bears are donated to children’s hospitals and charities as Christmas gifts.)
13. …hand-delivering season tickets to fans…
14. …Fighting Irish Fight for Life…
From the Notre Dame Student-Athlete Welfare and Development Facebook page: “Pediatric hematology and oncology patients from Memorial Hospital were matched with their Notre Dame varsity teams for the 2013-2014 Fighting Irish Fight for Life program.”
15. …and, of course, Movember.
The entire team grows mustaches in November to raise awareness for testicular and prostate cancer.
P.S. If you want to donate to the team’s fundraising efforts (and you totally should), you can here.
16. Their contract with NBC Sports Network.
This year, Notre Dame signed a three-year contract with NBCSN to air 12 home games and stream 20. Read more here.
Dave “Gilly” Gilbert has been the Hockey Equipment manager for 15 seasons, and he’s a total champ. Also, he takes some really cool photos for his twitter account. He’s also, apparently, Kevin Youkilis’s doppelgänger.
(Gilly is on the left. Youkilis is on the right.)
18. This sign.
It’s in the visiting team penalty box, and it’s awesome.
19. They were the last Mason Cup champions … EVER.
R.I.P. Central Collegiate Hockey Association
21. It runs in the family.
Over the years, there have been three father-son pairs to play for Notre Dame: Brian (’77) and Rory (’06) Walsh, Kevin (’78, third from the left in the above photo) and Kevin (’13) Nugent, and Don (’81, second player from the right in the second row above) and Mario Lucia. There have also been 11 sets of brothers to play here. Those brothers who are currently on the roster are sophomore Andy Ryan and junior Eric Johnson.
22. Over 100 Notre Dame hockey alumni have gone on to play professional hockey in either the NHL or WHA.
Ian Cole who played for the Irish from 2007-2010, for example, is currently a member of the St. Louis Blues.
23. Four of them have won Stanley Cup championships.
Those 4 (Bill Nyrop, Don Jackson, Brett Lebda and Mark Eaton) have won eight Cups total. If you include Notre Dame graduate Stan Bowman, who is the general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks, the Irish sport 10 Stanley Cup champions.
24. The Chicago Blackhawks love them.
It may or may not help that their GM, Stan Bowman, is a Domer…
25. They’re so good that they take over other sports’ venues.
Soldier Field last season, and soon to come…
26. The Zambonis and helmets shine (bright like a diamond).
That is a thing of beauty, right there. It’s a good thing they dim the lights during intermission, otherwise those would probably blind us all.
27. Hockey East
Hockey East is going to be a good fit for Notre Dame. Even though it buried a rivalry or two from the CCHA (I never thought I would miss Michigan), it will bring some new, fun rivalries to the foreground.
28. November 18, 2011
I may have listed this reason last, but it’s the reason I love Notre Dame hockey. The first Irish hockey game I ever saw was the Compton Family Ice Arena dedication game against Boston College. It was a great game. Skip to 25:18 in the video above to see clips from that game, but you should watch the entire video anyway.
These ones were pretty good, but there are more benefits of already loving Notre Dame hockey than reasons to love it.
The Stunning Alumni
Kevin said this as a joke, but I’m pretty sure he was secretly 100% serious.
Let’s be honest. The technique here is absurd. Hockey sticks, ping pong paddles, the ceiling, the table AND Kevin Lind’s forehead?! It’s almost too much.
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