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View From Section U: Enlist In The Pond Club

Time for my second installment of my Wednesday column, which I think is going to end up being called View From Section U.  View because, well, it’s my view on something surrounding the program, college hockey in general, or the university.  And Section U because that’s where I like to plant myself to watch the games together with a group of fellow hardcore fans, most also dating back to the triangle era.  Of course you don’t have to have seen this team play in their triangles to be a considered a hardcore fan or big supporter of the program.  But if you do think of yourself as one of those two things, I highly recommend considering joining the Pond Club.

For those unfamiliar with it, the Pond Club is the UMass hockey booster organization.  It’s a great way to meet and interact with others who live and die UMass hockey; such as fellow fans, members of the UMass and Amherst community, players’ families, and former players.  I personally have met some great people through my membership in the club and look forward to connecting with them at every home and away game.  In fact, I happily admit that some of my closest friends are people I’ve met at UMass hockey games.  Of course, most of that interaction takes place in the Massachusetts Room which is open to Pond Club members during the 1st and 2nd intermissions.  The room offers, of course, a great view of the arena in addition to snacks, soda, water, coffee, wine, and the only place in the building to enjoy a beer.  And you know me when it comes to beer, I would not hype up the option to grab a brew if there wasn’t something decent to drink.  So I’m happy to report that for the last few years Western Mass’ own Opa-Opa has been offered in addition to some of the highly advertised barley flavored sports drinks you may drink for some reason.  Besides the room and amenities you also have access to the UMass Hall of Fame, displaying plaques for all the UMass athletic greats in addition to the trophies and momentos gathered over the school’s storied history.

In addition to offering fans a place to gather in-between periods the Pond Club organizes some great events throughout the year.  In the Spring is the Reverse Raffle, an end of season celebration giving attendees the chance to have a great meal as well as a chance to win $5000 or other great prizes.  Over the Summer the Pond Club has their annual golf tournament at one of the premiere clubs in the area, The Orchards in South Hadley.  Again a fun time to meet a lot of the personalities involved with UMass hockey in addition to chasing a ball around someone’s lawn.  The Pond Club also will put together pre-game gatherings at various spots where UMass is playing away from the Bill.  Hell, sometimes even Grammy award winners show up to their events.

Of course all these great events and perks are secondary to the Pond Club’s main purpose; to help bring the UMass hockey program to the pinnacle of college hockey.  Proceeds from membership and events go towards ways to improve the program that otherwise would likely be impossible.  Specific examples from recent years include video equipment used for scouting and breaking down gametape, a completely refurbished hockey locker room, as well as helping offset the day to day operational expenses of the program.  As we know, Hockey East is an extremely competitive league filled with some of the powerhouses of college hockey who aren’t afraid to pour seemingly unlimited funds into their programs.  The only way UMass can do its best to keep up with these teams is with the support of the fans who invest in the program through the Pond Club.  There are a few different levels of membership, ranging from $200 to $1,000.  All levels include access to the Massachusetts Room between periods for you and a guest while the upper levels include perks like dinner at Coach Cahoon’s house.  Details of membership can be found here (it says 09-10, but all information is relevant for this season).  So I would hope fans will consider joining.  You’re helping the team while getting the opportunity to hang out with a great group of people who share a common interest.

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Coach Cahoon was asked about Paul Dainton’s status and availability in yesterday’s radio show.  He essentially said Dainton is practicing and he (Dainton) has the expectation that he’ll play sometime this weekend.  Toot was pretty coy about the subject (shocking), saying he hasn’t decided anything yet, but I’m guessing we’ll see Dainton for at least one of the nights.  My pick is Saturday.

Another subject that came up during the show, while referencing Maine’s big home sweep against North Dakota, is the difficulty it can be to get those elite western programs to come out east to play.  Essentially Toot said he’s working hard to try to get Wisconsin and Minnesota to return the games from this season.  And that, frankly, sucks.  If UMass is going to go out there to their buildings for two game series they can at least have the respect (and guts) to reciprocate without lobbying.  If they want to do one in Amherst and one with the Boston area teams, so be it.  They have a lot of alumni in the city, so that’s understandable.  But at least return the trip.  I mean, who do they think they are?  Yale?  Harvard?

By the way, the hockey shows are available as podcasts through iTunes for those interested.  Good stuff.

The Collegian has their preview of this weekend’s action, focusing on the good play from Danny Hobbs and Darren Rowe as of late.  They also have a piece on the team’s resiliency.

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Alex Berry is mentioned in this Hockey’s Future look at the Lightning organization.

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Last week I mentioned that Lowell had lost one of their hockey greats, Craig Charron.  What I did not know was that Charron was the nephew of olympic hockey legend Jim Craig.  Craig will be attending the River Hawks’ game this Friday when they take on his alma mater BU.  He’ll be dropping the puck and raffling off an autographed USA sweater.  Lowell is also selling Charron jerseys the team wore in warmups.  I believe these are in the old ULowell Chiefs motif, which I have to say as someone who collects jerseys are very sharp looking.  I mean granted they don’t have an oversized geometric shape on the front of them, but still.

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2 Comments

  1. Anonymous

     /  October 28, 2010

    Not certain why you would think a Minn or Wisc want to come to Mullins for a series. The numbers don’t add up. In both arenas the student section is about one aisle – the rest of the seats go for what – $30 bucks a pop or so? Makes no economic sense for them to come to Mullins – as much as I’m sure we’d all like to see. Your take Rocks?

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    • I readily admit I don’t know the finances behind out of conference teams coming in for away games, whether it’s a percent of the gate or a negotiated flat fee. I do know that both Colorado College and Denver (on the heels of their championship) came into the Mullins to return games. If there’s any top level programs out west who would have to depend on as much hockey revenue as possible, it’d be those two since they don’t have the big time football to subsidize the rest of their athletic program like Minnesota and Wisconsin. Yet those teams didn’t have a problem returning games.

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