University of Denver Hockey Tradition Disappoints
Arriving at 3PM this past Friday, seven University of Denver freshman crammed into a tent meant for three, and waited. Jessica, DJ, Eunice, Emily, Sam, Holly, and Jillion played card games until nearly 4AM and then proceeded to wake up at 6:30AM to claim their reward of season hockey tickets. Seventeen hours.That’s how long these students camped out in front of the Daniel L. Ritchie Center.
These seven were the first of around thirty five tents to set up camp Friday night, eagerly awaiting the opening of the ticket
counter. An entirely student-led tradition of more than a decade, the stake out included free food provided by DU’s Grilling Society, D.U.G.S., and loud music broadcasted by the school’s radio program, KXDU. Joining in on the festivities was the student mascot, Boone, enthusiastically dancing to the music along with DU’s dance team and cheerleaders. The campers were treated to dance performances to “Gangnam Style”, “Cupid Shuffle” and the “Cotton-Eye Joe”, and some even joined in themselves.
Despite these festivities, the evening disappointed multiple people. One sophomore, Arianna Vierzchalek, remarked, “This year, I don’t know, there wasn’t much happening. [Last year], there were so many more tents and so many more people.”
This feeling was shared by another sophomore, Alex Hess, who said, “Last year was ridiculous! There was free [stuff]…there was music playing until 3AM…it was a big deal last year.” Though neither of these students camped this year, they stopped by for a time and assessed the situation to be significantly less exciting than the previous year.
Two freshman camping near the front of the group shared this sentiment, defining the evening as “boring” and blatantly stating that “if I didn’t think I’d miss out on tickets I wouldn’t do it.”
Even though several upperclassmen and a few freshmen seemed to share this negative view, when asked if they would camp out again, the group first in line responded with an enthusiastic “Oh yeah!”, and this sentiment was repeated in various forms by many people after receiving their tickets.
The hockey players themselves really appreciated the turnout. Two sophomore team members, Zac Larraza and Juho Olkinuora, commented on how fun it is to see the support from the school, especially the freshmen who have been outnumbered by upperclassmen in the past. New freshman teammate, Quentin Shore, said that “It’s a good time. It’s good to see everyone showing support. Hopefully, they all come to the games as well!”
There may not have been as many people and the campout may not have lasted as long as the 24-plus hour stakeouts in the past, but that did not make it any less spirited. At 7AM, the pep band struck up with the Alma Mater and a resounding D-Rah, E-Rah, N-Rah, Ver-Boom and proceeded with songs, including “Party Rock Anthem” and “The Final Countdown” as the cheerleaders bounced along with their pom poms waving in the crisp, morning air. The tradition was kept alive, even if in a smaller form than the past. Most of the students were not sleeping on the cold, hard ground due to an immense love of hockey, but rather a dedication to school tradition, and that is something that cannot be quantified by mere numbers.
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