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An Open Letter To Timothy Anderson

Dear Dr. Anderson,

First off, congratulations on being named Director of the University of Massachusetts Marching Band.  The Power and Class is a significant point of pride for the university and holds a special place in the heart of all alumni and friends of the university.  I welcome you to the UMass community and wish you luck in your endeavor to continue the tradition of excellence that has signified the UMass Marching Band during its existence.

However, I would also like to bring your attention to a gap in the marching band’s mission over its history.  The band’s representation at football games is legendary and it’s fitting that the school’s lone national championship in the sport, occurring in 1998, was accompanied by a Sudler Trophy for the marching band.  As well, the band’s presence for basketball games is equally cherished going back to the “Rage In The Cage” days when the team was making a name for themselves in Curry Hicks.  But, there is one more sport would also greatly benefit from music provided from a pep band that currently does not.  Hockey.

On all the prominent college hockey campuses across the country the sport is  accompanied by a band.  In my hockey travels I’ve had the privilege of hearing great hockey bands play famous tunes, from “The Stein Song” in Orono, Maine to “When You’ve Said Wisconsin…” in Madison, Wisconsin and can attest to how much they enhance the experience, in even the most hallowed of hockey barns.  A particularly memorable hockey band moment was seeing a ragtag group of RPI graduates assemble with instruments in Tampa, Florida to support their alma mater in the most tropical of hockey locales.

Currently eight of the ten Hockey East schools have a hockey pep band and a ninth, the small, private Merrimack College, has fielded a student-led hockey band at different times in their existence.  Most of these schools have pep bands that exist to support multiple sports.  A handful of them, like Boston College, New Hampshire, and Maine, are able to field bands supporting football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s hockey, and even women’s hockey.  However despite having the largest student body in Hockey East, the largest number of band members, and by far the greatest level of prestige for its marching ban,d UMass has only been able to support football and men’s and women’s basketball, leaving hockey lacking in its overall college hockey experience.

There was a time in the history of UMass hockey when a pep band may have in fact outnumbered those in attendance.  Thankfully, those days are over.  Two years ago the hockey program was ranked 10th in the country for attendance.  UMass hockey now competes regularly with men’s basketball as the second most attended sport on a per game basis on campus and is tops when it comes to student attendance.  Those students bring a lot of energy and passion to their seats on the west side of the Mullins Center, but overall their efforts are usually disjointed and underwhelming.  There is no band there to join in with, celebrate alongside, or keep their attention during the breaks in action.  Instead a key play is generally met with unorganized cheering and stoppages of play are filled with canned music consisting of grating techno or even worse, country.  The atmosphere of UMass hockey has come a long way from its beginnings but there are still some strides left to take to be considered one of the best atmospheres in the conference or even the country.  A band would do wonders to closing that gap.  A band could become the rallying point of celebration and tradition at the games, leading the entire crowd in cheering on the Minutemen to victory.

Previously there were different opinions regarding the value of a pep band for the hockey program.  Despite the advocacy of numerous hockey supporters we have been unable to secure a spot for the band to become a part of the UMass hockey experience.  With your arrival on campus myself and others are hoping this will be an opportunity for the band and hockey programs to enter a mutually beneficial relationship.  As the Power and Class begins a new era I would hope you seriously consider how a band for the hockey team would greatly benefit the participating student athletes, students, alumni, and fans and more deeply fulfill the band program’s mission to support the University of Massachusetts campus.  UMass hockey fans have longed to hear the chords of “Fight Mass” ring out following a goal and the notes of “Twilight Shadows” as the players raise their sticks to the rafters following a win.  We sincerely hope you can help us to experience such a moment.

Sincerely,

Mark Coogan ‘98 ‘06MBA
www.fearthetriangle.com

Random things found on YouTube.  UMass commit 6’7” Oleg Yevenko versus former UMass commit (and now property of RPI) 6’6” Luke Curadi.  Yevenko in the dark jersey.  Looks like it was a decent fight.

Mike Marcou is attending the New York Islanders Development Camp for the second straight summer.  No doubt the Long Island native is happy for the chance to train with his hometown team.

Overall I have to say that the coverage of the NHL prospect camps, both in terms of independent media and team based, decidedly sucks.

Someday a UMass hockey alum will have the chance to lift the Stanley Cup.  Not quite the same, but this is pretty damn cool.  Congrats to Ryan Nadeau.  You have to at least respect the playoff beard.

Former UMass assistant Mark Dennehy has done an outstanding job at Merrimack so it’s of no surprise that he was a hot commodity in the coaching market this offseason.  Therefore, Merrimack’s signing of him through 2019 is a clear signal that they’re serious about hockey.

Meanwhile, Northeastern does realize they’ll need a coach by the beginning of the regular season, right?

A college hockey “Super Conference”?  First of all, college hockey already has a Super Conference.  It’s called Hockey East.  Secondly, the Big Ten Hockey Conference was inevitable.  The conference itself goes back to near the beginning of college sports.    Once they had the needed number of schools fielding hockey they were always going to bond together to go forth under the Big Ten banner.  When it comes to conference history there’s the Ivy, Big Ten, and everyone else.  While I had no problem with the status quo (save for Huntsville not having a place at the table),  I still think the BTHC could potentially lead to an expanded college hockey footprint as schools like Illinois, Indiana, or others look to field teams.  But sadly this “Super Conference” will only hurt college hockey in general by separating the remaining western teams into haves and have-nots.  The current makeup of the WCHA and CCHA, led by teams like North Dakota, Duluth, Colorado College, Denver on one side and Notre Dame, Miami, and Western Michigan on the other can survive as is.  If those teams leave, the remaining programs will likely not all be able to make it work.  College hockey needs more schools, not less.  I hope these schools exploring this option consider this fact.

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35 Comments

  1. heavydrexler

     /  July 7, 2011

    Co-signed:
    Derek Walsh ’11
    http://www.fightmass.wordpress.com/

    Like

  2. Alan

     /  July 7, 2011

    Co-signed:
    Alan Levy, proud alum.

    Like

  3. Andrew Bail

     /  July 7, 2011

    Co-signed:
    Andrew Bail

    Like

  4. Sean LeBlanc '88

     /  July 7, 2011

    I could not agree more with Mark’s assessment. It is time for a Hockey prep band.

    Like

  5. Harold Green BU '80

     /  July 7, 2011

    My sophomore year at BU, the third year of the BU Pep Band’s existence, was 1978. Perhaps the Minutemen will accomplish the same as that team did in the third year of having a band at home games.

    Like

  6. Bubba

     /  July 7, 2011

    Dr. Anderson,

    As always, Mr. Coogan sums it up better than I could have. All around UMass you keep hearing the phrases ‘taking it to the next level’ and ‘acting like a flagship’ even ‘fitting the mold of our peer institutions’. These phrases are part of the reason for increased scholarship and research, adding a law school, reinforcing the medical school, adding FBS level football. UMass has had success on the ice, yet there are still things that can be done to bump up the program, bring in an even higher caliber recruit, and even change the whole atmosphere of the UMass Hockey experience. Adding a pep band is central to all of those goals for the hockey program.

    The many years of lacking a hockey pep band have shown the fans the nuance and challenge of creating a pep band. We understand some of the struggles of funding…etc of adding another pep band. I think I speak for the legions of UMass Hockey fans, both longtime and newer when I say, please consider this to be part of the goals of your new position. I think you will find ‘Section U’ and the UMass Hockey atmosphere to be a fun place.

    Thank You for your time and consideration,
    Robert

    Like

  7. Chris Ward

     /  July 7, 2011

    Co-signed:

    Christopher Ward
    Class of 1999

    Like

  8. idrivethebus

     /  July 7, 2011

    Co Signed:
    Karen Winger
    00′ UMMB Alum Euph
    06′ MBA

    Like

  9. Kieron

     /  July 7, 2011

    Co-signed:

    Kieron Faherty
    ’04 Ph.D. Chemistry

    Like

  10. Jeff

     /  July 7, 2011

    Co-signed:

    Jeff Carson

    Like

  11. Co-signed:

    Max Bitter
    ’10 Comm/Journalism
    Co-founder/head writer, Fight Mass

    Like

  12. Adam

     /  July 7, 2011

    Co-signed:

    Adam Schultz
    ’13 (hopefully) Hospitality and tourism management

    Like

  13. Carson

     /  July 8, 2011

    Co-signed:

    Carson Luddecke
    ’12 Management

    Like

  14. Boulat

     /  July 8, 2011

    Co-signed:

    Boulat Bash
    ’08 M.S., Ph. D. candidate, Computer Science

    Like

  15. Will

     /  July 8, 2011

    Co-signed:

    William Raich
    ’13 Resource Econ

    Like

  16. Daniel

     /  July 8, 2011

    Co-signed:
    Daniel Warner
    ’12 Accounting

    Like

  17. Tyler

     /  July 8, 2011

    Co-signed:
    Tyler de Ruiter ’10

    Like

  18. Mel Webster

     /  July 8, 2011

    I strongly support this letter. We need a band at home hockey games.

    Like

  19. Mel Webster

     /  July 8, 2011

    I also co-sign the letter

    ’78 BA English/Journalism

    Like

  20. Jim

     /  July 8, 2011

    Co-signed,
    Jim Clark
    1990 Journalism

    Like

  21. This is outstanding.

    I throw my support behind Mr. Coogan as well.

    Justin DeSorgher
    1999, History

    Like

  22. Scott Gamester

     /  July 9, 2011

    Co signed

    When I moved from Boston to West Hartford CT I bemoaned the loss of hockey east a fixture of Friday and Saturday nights for years

    I decided to get seasons at Umass as I’d be able to see my UNH wildcats twice a year and perhaps see some other good hockey.

    Those early seasons saw many sub 700 people games, very few students but some great games. I was hooked

    Now the house is filled, the student turnout is amazing and we’ve even got some proper taunts despite last years subpar season.

    All big time hockey schools have a rabid fan base and an established set of traditions- those are the REALLY hard parts that are already in place. Having a band is the other part and to me it’s inconceivable that this relatively easy step has been neglected for so long.

    Like

  23. Co-signed

    John J. McColgan
    2007, B.S. Physics and Mathematics

    Like

  24. Anonymous

     /  July 10, 2011

    Co-signed

    Kirsten Kirby
    Smith College Class of 2002
    UMass Hockey Fan

    Like

  25. Patrick Dineen

     /  July 11, 2011

    Co-signed

    Like

  26. Anonymous

     /  July 11, 2011

    Co-signed

    Patrick Dineen
    2008 BBA Accounting
    UMass Hockey 2004-2008

    Like

  27. Jason D'Orazio

     /  October 12, 2011

    FYI, a hockey pep band, or Puck Band as it was called, was attempted during the 2000-2001 season. The request for the band came from Coach Cahoon with short notice so the lack of prep time and other start-up problems led to a poor response from the student section. As always, the students’ response to things they are not fond of (i.e. opposing teams, refs, etc.) was a bit over-zealous and was probably part of the reason the Puck Band was discontinued. I am hoping with better preparation and coordination with hockey fan representatives (including students) the band could be successfully resurrected in the future.

    Co-signed,

    Jason D’Orazio
    ’02 BS Computer Science
    UMMB 1998-2002
    Puck Band 2000-2001

    Like

    • Couldn’t agree more Jason. The early attempt at a puck band was doomed from the start due to poor execution. With full buy-in from the powers that be and proper preparation I think we’d see success.

      Thanks for offering your first hand observations.

      Like

  28. Anonymous

     /  October 12, 2011

    As an avid UMass hockey fan and very proud alum I would love to see the UMass band play at the Mullins Center. I have attended games at Boston College and their band brings energy to the games. I know our band is highly regarded and would help attract fans to the Mullins Center.

    Thanks and go UMass!

    Patrick Class of 2010

    Like

  29. Co Sign. This school needs a hockey band, plain and simple.

    Matthew Civello BA Political Science ’11

    Like

  30. Anonymous

     /  October 13, 2011

    Having the band at games would be great and the right thing to do ,to contuine to move UMASS hockey to another level provided the band was good enough to listen to .. Mr. Anderson make the call

    Like

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