The 2009-10 regular season is shaping up to be an interesting affair for both the men’s and women’s Bison hockey teams. With the men’s team now in full swing and the women’s team gearing up for their Oct. 16 regular season debut, it feels like just the right time for students to start getting excited about the U of M’s hockey program. So why aren’t they?
Coming into Friday’s game the men’s hockey team was coming off back-to-back victories against Saskatchewan, which earned the Bisons a perfect 2-0-0 record to start the season. Bison’s goalie Steve Christie even won the Canada West and CIS male athlete of the week honours for his effort in both wins. If that weren’t enough, the Bisons had also strung together five straight preseason victories before starting the season with their two wins against Saskatchewan. But despite all the positives coming out of the Bison hockey world as of late, the attendance at Friday’s game against the University of Lethbridge was, to put it generously, temperate.
The game itself was actually fairly exciting; the Bisons went up 1-0 in the first period and the two teams exchanged goals and penalties until the herd finally pulled ahead for good in the final minutes of the second period, winning the game 3-2 in regulation. The experience, too, was top notch. Hot dogs, beers, and nachos beautifully punctuate an evening of breakaways, one-timers, body checks, and eating contests (this was actually the intermission entertainment).
On the next night of their back-to-back games, the Bisons defeated Lethbridge 4-0, improving their record to a perfect 4-0-0 on the season. Christie might even get another look for AOTW honours after posting a shutout and allowing only two goals in as many games. This team seems to have the potential to be good, maybe even really good, so how can this hockey program attract a bigger crowd? Well maybe it’s true that the key to a university student’s heart is through their wallet.
So forget all the hubbub about the men’s team’s winning streak, forget about all the great individual efforts on display and forget about the fact that our women’s hockey team is entering the 2009-10 season with only six regulation loses to their name in the last two years. If there’s one thing that should entice potential Bison fans to come out to our school’s hockey games it’s the fact that it’s good entertainment for a price that’s ludicrously affordable. In fact, let’s review the options. For $25 students can buy a Bison Sports season pass and attend any and every Bison’s home game this year. Hockey, football, basketball, volleyball, soccer and more; think of the possibilities! Even if you only attend five games all year you’re only paying five dollars per game. Students are infamous for being a heavily debt ridden bunch and this is one way for those without much cash to enjoy some of the thrills regular human beings enjoy on a semi-regular basis.
For a relatively low price students have the opportunity to get out from under their study nooks and take in a local sporting event for any number of teams that have the potential for winning seasons this year. In fact, go ahead and take in a bunch of them, no one is stopping you. Unfortunately due to the timing of their schedule there is less to write about the women’s hockey team but I will say this: it may not be as tense but it can be very, very fun to watch your home team absolutely destroy the competition. Last year the women’s team finished the season with a record of 21-2-1 and 59 more goals-for than goals-against. Those types of numbers may seem like a daunting task to repeat this year but if anything it should indicate that these Bisons will be tough competition both in the regular and the (very likely) post-season.
So if you’re a student who enjoys sporting events, make it your personal mission to come out for some Bison hockey this year. It’s not only dirt cheap but there’s also plenty of opportunity to do so. Did I mention that these teams have been winning lately? How else can I mindlessly cheerlead for the hockey program? Oh, also, most Bison Sports games take place on evenings and weekends so you don’t have to worry about parking if you’re a driver. There we go.