A triangle is a geometric shape that Joe Mallen used prominently as he designed the Massachusetts hockey program’s uniforms when the team moved up to Division I in the 90s. A triangle is also the Greek letter delta, which in math and science means “change”. There has been a lot of changes, good and bad, to the UMass hockey program since I started Fear The Triangle seven years ago. And there has been a lot of changes in my own life as well. Previous change in my personal life forced me to take a season’s hiatus from writing about UMass hockey once. And sure enough things keep changing and that continued change means Fear The Triangle is all done. Again. In the end, I just ran out of time.
I’m typically awake before dawn each weekday and am already fighting Route 3 traffic before 7am. After a day of crunching numbers at work I’m hopefully back home by 6pm. Waiting for me is my wife, who has patiently put up with me disappearing each night to write FTT, and my Minutegirl, now three years old and full of words and energy. Eventually she tires herself out enough to go to bed. That leaves me with a short window before I tire myself out and need to go to bed. And it’s that window, with my daughter’s bedtime on one end and my own on the other, that has grown too narrow for me to write regularly about UMass hockey. At least too small for me to write up to the standard that I’ve set for myself. I toyed with the idea of simplifying my coverage or maybe writing just once a week. But that’s not really how I want to do things. As it was I wasn’t able to devote enough attention to FTT since I restarted the blog two years ago and I think that showed in terms of quality and the depth of my posts. I’m an all or nothing kind of person and I have tough time intentionally half-assing something that I take pride in.
It is very unfortunate that circumstance is taking me away from writing about the hockey program just as there’s something likely worthwhile to write about. The hiring of coach Greg Carvel and his staff of Ben Barr and Jared DeMichiel should be exciting times for UMass fans. I have no doubt that this program is already heading in a better direction than it was and it won’t be too long before that’s evident on the ice. There’s a buzz around the program from fans, players, alumni, staff, and administration that was sorely lacking in recent years. The team hasn’t even taken the ice yet for captain’s practices but there’s already more anticipation for the start of the season than I’ve seen in years. From a personal standpoint Carvel and his staff, not to mention the athletic administration as a whole, has already been incredibly engaging with me and the blog compared to the previous regimes. I think this likely would’ve led to some really captivating and in-depth coverage here at FTT. This upcoming chapter of UMass hockey could be the best one yet in the program’s history. But unfortunately I will not have the chance to be the narrator of that chapter.
I’m not going to get too deep into how much FTT has meant to me and the role it has played in my life these recent years and the countless people I want to thank for their help in keeping this place alive. Mostly because I already wrote that a few years back the first time I retired from the blog. Please go back and read that post because everything I wrote back then is still true today. FTT wasn’t about me, it was about the fans. All I ever tried to do was keep the fellow fandom informed and give them a voice. I hope I did that.
Could there be a third iteration of Fear The Triangle in the future? Never say never. But pressures and responsibilities pile on as years go by which makes having the time needed to do this sort of thing less likely. But circumstances change so I won’t rule it out. It won’t be anytime soon though.
I’m leaving the blog behind but I am all in for the upcoming hockey season. I plan to be at the Mullins Center for every home game and tuned into Donnie and Brock for every away game. My advice to everyone is to get on board. Support this team and its new leadership with your presence, your voice, and if possible your wallet because the program can really only be successful if the faithful rally around UMass hockey. There’s new blood behind the bench and in new blood the AD’s office. Those are the two spots we’ve kept pointing too as holding back UMass hockey from being competitive in Hockey East and nationally. That’s not the case anymore. The school has done what they’ve needed to do and addressed the weakness in those two positions. Now it’s up to us to do our part. Purchase tickets, make noise, buy a jersey, join the Pond Club, pick a favorite player, watch the team on the road, proclaim UMass’ greatness on Twitter, drink a beer at the radio show, start a blog. Make this team YOUR team.
I’ll still be doing what I can to keep fans informed of the goings on with UMass hockey. Just not here. You can find me in Section U, on a barstool at the Hangar, or @FearTheTriangle on Twitter.
That’s about it. I really have said it all before. All the thank yous from that previous post are true today. But I do want to repeat two of them. First off, thanks to all those who have pulled on the maroon sweater. Twenty four years into being a Minuteman hockey fan and I’m still regularly in awe of the sacrifice, hard work, blood, and sweat it takes to be an NCAA athlete. And thanks to the FTT readers. I’m still a bit shocked that so many people enjoyed my writing about a sport that I have exactly zero experience playing. But you did and in doing so motivated me to keep doing it and do it to the best of my ability. Thank you for that.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, Massachusetts yours and mine.
▲ Mark F. Coogan ‘98 ‘06MBA