Hockey is one of the biggest sports around the world, with some of the most loyal fans in sports. Merrimack College hockey is no different, with it being the place for any Merrimack sports fan to be during the hockey season.
Sports at Merrimack rule the campus with die-hard fans and never-ending support for the athletes and teams. But one sport stands alone as Merrimack’s number one sport: Hockey. Merrimack’s first D1 sport since 1989, hockey, has been the pinnacle of Merrimack Sports, with one of the most unique arenas in the Hockey East.
It is the smallest in capacity out of all teams in the Hockey East, but when the fans arrive, that small space turns into Merrimack Hockey’s biggest weapon. Hundreds of screaming fans echoing around the arena, sending a loud, clear message to the opposing teams. This is Merrimack, and we are here to win.
“The games are packed every time. The home opener this year there wasn’t enough seats for the students, that’s how many people showed up,” Kyle Durgin, a senior at Merrimack College.
Students were piled up against the glass during the home opener to watch the game due to the sheer number of fans arriving for the big game, which was held in the famous Lawler Rink of Merrimack College that just went under a little bit of revamping before the season.
This recent year, Merrimack College decided to renovate the arena. Through significant donations, Merrimack is now creating new luxury VIP seating, luxury suites, and so much more for the arena.
“I think it’s a great business opportunity for the school by making the old student section a VIP seating area,” states Ryan Lefebvre- Lawler Rink Building Manager.
Lefebvre, who works in the arena and all around the building, believes that moving the student section will help generate money for the school by creating these premium seats. Since students do not have to pay to get into the game, creating seats that will help balance that out will greatly benefit the school.
Sadly, many students at Merrimack do not see this as a good thing. Many of them were confused about where to sit in the first game. Then, there needed to be more seats for students who had to stand around the rink trying to glimpse Merrimack’s favorite pastime.
“It is stupid. It is Merrimack being a cash grab taking away from the student body,” Ryan Connolly- A senior at Merrimack College.
Connolly and other students believe this is just Merrimack trying to make a buck and forgetting about the students. Believing there was no need for the VIP seats. Many do not believe those seats will even fill out every game.
Thankfully, to the Warriors die-hard fans, the lack of seats and moving the student section does not steer them away from the games. Sadly, it is definitely leaving a bad taste in their mouths.
Lefebvre and Merrimack College see it differently, as they believe the seats will be good for the arena and help a lot. For them, it is a business action that is needed for Merrimack. Creating new ways to attract new fans while holding onto the old and making a profit for the college.
“It makes the school thousands, and a good amount of people want to buy those seats,” states Lefebvre.
If these new renovations work, it will make the school more money than seen before, as well as making the arena look more like its D1 competition and give it a more professional look as a whole. These changes will help Merrimack College and Merrimack Hockey down the line.
For now, in the early stages of the season, the school will have to clash with its student body over why these are good decisions and why they are taking their seats from them. It seems no matter what, Merrimack students will still attend the home games with their blue and gold pride showing true.
Although Merrimack’s student body is not a quiet student body and will let their opinion be known. Students will let the school know if the need for more seats for the student body is still an issue later this season in a loud and clear voice.