Final Frozen Four trip observations

Travel to and from the Frozen Four can be awfully exhausting. I’m just now starting to get back in the swing of things. But then it isn’t just watching three great hockey games, there’s the atmosphere and simply being a tourista. Some final, albeit somewhat random, thoughts:

  • Add to the hockey games trips to at least five different bookstores. That includes two absolutely wonderful independents, the Tattered Cover and the Boulder Book Store, with a variety that puts the local chains to shame. Had I not been traveling carry on only, I would have come back with far more than the five books that found there way into my bag.
  • Favorite t-shirt seen: One that said Boulder, Colo., and “Free Range Humans.”
  • Perhaps only in Boulder but certainly never in South Dakota: Left Hand Books.
  • Most potentially expensive phrase heard: While walking in downtown Boulder, my oldest daughter saying, “Maybe I’ll come here for my Ph.D.”
  • Who are the real hockey fans (plural)?: North Dakota and Michigan were eliminated Thursday. At Saturday night’s championship game, the designated UND fan section (each school gets 600 tickets) was basically full. The Michigan section was close to half empty.
  • Who are the real hockey fans (singular)?: Thursday night’s drunk and obnoxious Notre Dame fan evidently wasn’t a big enough fan to show up to watch his team play in (and lose) the championship game against Boston College. Our section was thrilled by his absence.
  • Who are the real hockey fans (returnees): The retired couple from Maine I spoke with Sunday morning who said their annual trips to the Frozen Four are “what we do.” Note: Maine not only was not in the tournament this year, the Black Bears got swept in the first round of the Hockey East tournament.
  • Speaking of being swept, such was the fate of the Stampede in the USHL playoffs, meaning the Frozen Four was my last live hockey of the 2007-08 season.
  • Finally, there is a seemingly identifiable genealogy to my hockey interests. It started in 1999 with the USHL, where the players are competing in the hopes of getting an NCAA Division I scholarship. As USHL players moved on, I started watching college hockey, leading to my first Frozen Four in 2002. I’ve also followed several to the NHL ranks, leading to my Center Ice addiction this season. Interestingly, I saw today that almost a third of the players who played in the NHL this year came from NCAA ranks. That said, if I were to create a “things to do before I die” list, one would be seeing my first live NHL game in Montreal.

If you win a national title, your season never ends.

Boston College hockey coach Jerry York

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