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So Long And Thanks For All The Sieves

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

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16 Comments

  1. Mel

     /  August 22, 2016

    This is one of the best college hockey blogs in the country and it will be missed, Mark. Now I will have to go to more games to get your hockey knowledge face-to-face over a beer or two. Thanks for all you have done for the program and you are right, UMass hockey is on an upward trajectory and I am fired up…Enjoy the family and look forward to running into you at several games

    Like

  2. politicalhousedivided

     /  August 23, 2016

    I’m still confused… I have feared triangles since a very early age and am still not convinced that “Mark” is not really Fightmass in the few moments a day that they sober up…

    But every time I sit in my seat and say to my kids
    >Watch Pock carry the puck through the zone to setup the play
    >. Or PJ will the team to win
    > Or Sheary should always wait and deal while everyone yells Shooooot

    I learned it from you… I am super grateful and definitely owe you several beers at the Hangar

    Hate the decision but know it’s the right one for you

    Like

  3. Anonymous

     /  August 23, 2016

    will buy you a beer (or 2) @ hangar….hate to see you go….not happy this morning….love hearing from a man who bleeds for the zoo….GO UMASS,,,,,and thank you for all you have done….GO U

    Like

  4. Even as a Lowell fan, it was always enjoyable to read your views on what was going on at UMass. Best of luck to you!

    Like

  5. Rex

     /  August 23, 2016

    Damn, I think i said this a few years ago when you made similar post. very sorry to see you go, this was such a great spot to come for in depth umass hockey coverage, pretty much the only spot. Good luck with the family going forward, and may i suggest leaving this page current for umass fans to come here to discuss umass hockey.

    Like

  6. A UMass Hockey hat tip to you and all the hard work you put into this endeavor. I could say that I’d help to take over the responsibility (ala what has recently gone on with Maroon Musket) but from long experience I know how much work goes into things like this and like you, don’t have the proper time to put into it. May your pint glass never be empty and your plate of wings always full, good sir!

    Like

  7. Anonymous

     /  August 23, 2016

    Thanks for all the info. There isn’t a more detailed breakdown of UM recruiting in any of the sports. I enjoyed our extra time!!

    Like

  8. All good things come to an end eventually. Unfortunately this time its FTT. I have loved your coverage of UMass hockey, and will miss the updates and news surrounding the hockey team. You have always been very fair and balanced in your views of the program, and not a fly-off-the handle type (like myself). Its amazing you started writing about UMass when no one else seemed to care, and continued to do so through so many lean years. All the accolades out there are well earned and I hope they remind you of how much you gave back to your alma mater.

    For me, Ive been reading FTT since I believe the beginning. Living close to Boston and my jobs through the years have limited my attending games. But FTT was always there to find out what was happening to UMass hockey.

    FTT was so valuable to me over the past 8 months. In December of last year, my 19 month old daughter passed away suddenly. My wife & I had our lives ripped apart. Everything we loved and cared about no longer meant anything. I couldnt watch,listen or attend any games after that. One thing that was recommended was to try and return to some sense of normalcy in our lives, go back to things we enjoyed, and they would help distract us from the pain. Thats what FTT did for me. I could spend a few minutes reading about the downward spiral of the team last season, and the hope that is coming with the new staff and players. In the days after the loss of my daughter, I received a nice message from Mark. It was nice to know that someone I only knew through our love of UMass hockey would reach out to offer words of encouragement and care. I will never forget that. And I appreciate everything you’ve done for UMass, UMass hockey, the fans, and myself. I wish you the best as you go forward, and hope we get to continue to get a piece of the triangle from time to time. Even a little is better than none.

    Jason

    Like

  9. Thanks for the memories …. you were the best source for info on UMASS hockey. The state of change in UM Athletics has me bewildered. I’m not about to belabor you with my tale of woe regarding 45 years of season football tix, but I’m reasonable sure my Section D hockey tix will remain less than desirable for the next few years, at least!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. ganderson9754

     /  August 23, 2016

    Geez now I have to come up with my own opinions! Anyway thanks for the blog see you at the rink.

    Like

  11. K.Keats

     /  August 24, 2016

    Mark: Thanks so much for your honest and thorough insight into UMass Ice Hockey.You will be missed!Needless to say it is a big loss to the team .We always enjoyed your Blog .Look for some great changes in the on ice performance this year.Please take care and again Thank You!Laurie and Kenneth Keats

    Like

  12. Paul

     /  August 24, 2016

    I enjoyed reading your blog. I understand your decision. Just wait a few more years until your daughter has her own hockey games on weekends and you won’t be able to go to as many UMass games. However, it will be good. Trust me. I’m there now.

    Like

  13. Matthew

     /  August 24, 2016

    I love hockey, and especially the college game. Living in Hockey East country, I’m pretty blessed as well as grateful to see many teams in the New England region duke it out each week during the season. Social media really helps drum up the colorful atmosphere for a particular program, and you sir, have made a major contribution in that regard to a program without much history except for several alumni contributing to Stanley Cup-winning clubs (Most notably Jonathan Quick, and most recently Conor Sheary.) Life changes without our control or input that can force us to put off our biggest passions for more important things.

    The best part I can think about is that as others leave, other folks inspired by their writings will want to start their own blogs inspired by your own work. As good things eventually come to an end, other new and exciting things will often pop up. As a student in the UMass system via the Boston campus, all respect should be given to each of the other UMass schools and their respective programs in helping the sport of hockey grow here in New England. I really wish for the day UMass Boston’s program eventually makes the DI jump, especially after their historic Frozen Four run last season, they would be perfect rivals for Lowell’s Riverhawks and your beloved Minutemen of Amherst. Nowhere to go for the latter but up with a new coach in town! Thank you!

    Like

  14. Flag Guy

     /  August 24, 2016

    thanks Mark – see you in section U

    Like

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