Cats and Dogs: College Hockeys next biggest rivalry

Yale and Quinnipiac could bring a hometown rivalry to the National stage

Yale and Quinnipiac could bring a hometown rivalry to the National stage

Cats and Dogs have always been natural enemies. So it was only natural when the Quinnipiac Bobcats joined the ECAC in 2005 that their biggest rival would be none other than the Yale Bulldogs. Fast forward to February 2013. Under the bright lights of the TD Bank Center in front of thousands of passionate fans wearing yellow “Beat Yale” shirts the Quinnipiac defeated those pesky Bulldogs to win the Heroes Hat 4-1. The Heroes Hat is the annual trophy  that the winner of this rivalry claims. This year Quinnipiac scaled the Everest in college hockey by becoming the number one team in the country and winning the ECAC Cleary Cup. Not to be outdone the Bulldogs have been a consistent top ten team for years and have solidified themselves as a top program. With the absence of Uconn Mens basketball in March Madness, hockey has been center stage in the Constitution. Quinnipiac backed up its number one ranking with a come from behind win against Canisius and beating Union in Providence to make it to the big dance in Pittsburgh. Yale has been the opposite, by playing the role of Cinderella by knocking off Minnesota and North Dakota to also punch their ticket to Pittsburgh.

From heroes hat to National hardware at stake

From heroes hat to National hardware at stake

Now the Bobcats and Bulldogs not only give Connecticut its first team to represent them in the National Championship but the possibility of them playing each other for the championship. QU and Yale make such great rivals because they are so different. You have the class and history of the Bulldogs, who were the first program in College hockey in 1893. Yale who represents the prestige and class of the Ivy league and the great tradition of college hockey. However, Quinnipiac has taken a much different route. They’ve gone from D3 club team to the best team in the country in just thirty years and have established themselves as the new hot shots in ECAC. Old school vs. new school, brainiacs vs frat boys, tradition vs. new success, little brother vs, big brother, Hamden vs. New Haven this rivalry has everything. Even their arenas reflect their teams. Ingalls rink represents the class and long running history of the Yale hockey program and is a cathedral f college hockey. Meanwhile on the top of a mountain in Hamden, the TD Bank center is the latest in innovation and technology with all the bells and whistles a hockey fan could hope for at a game. Despite their many differences there is no question that these teams have talent.

With Hartzell between the pipes the Bobcats believe they can make history

With Hartzell between the pipes the Bobcats believe they can make history

Quinnipiac Boasts a senior squad loaded with talent from goaltender Eric Hartzell to scoring machine Matthew Peca. Despite losing the first two match ups to the Bobcats Yale still has a dangerous lineup and these two teams know each other incredibly well. Yale also has been on a hot streak knocking off higher teams and gaining more confidence on the road to Pittsburgh. This will be Yale’s first Frozen Four appearance since 1952 and despite all of the hardware accumulated over its hundred history, they still don’t have a national championship. But before the dream showdown first the Bobcats must get past St. Cloud State while the Bulldogs have to knock off UMass Lowell. Either way

Forget backing in to the Frozen Four these Bulldogs are more bite then bark

Forget backing into the Frozen Four these Bulldogs are more bite then bark

this is a huge step for Connecticut hockey. Since the Hartford Whalers left in 1997 there has been a massive void to fill but the success of these two teams could soon make New Haven the hockey capital in the nation. Either way these two teams will bring the rivalry to the next level and I know people are praying for a Yale Quinnipiac final, it would be prefect. While the fan bases may scold if their counterpart wins the National Championship, it will be a win for Connecticut and could be the opening chapter to even greater college hockey in the New Haven area.  How do you think will win the National Championship? Think there will be a Connecticut final?  Who do you think win win Yale or Quinnipiac? Don’t forget to comment and subscribe!

The stakes have never been higher

The stakes have never been higher

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Hockey History: The Beast of New Haven

The team that inspired my generation

The team that inspired my generation

April 9, 1993 was the end of an era for New Haven hockey when the New Haven Senators played their final game at the New Haven Coliseum. The Senators single season in the Elm City was one that’s often forgotten. When the Ottawa Senators bought the Night Hawks in 1992 they dropped the Night Hawks namesake, which was blasphemous among fans who supported the team for 20 years. The diehard Night Hawks’ fans despised the change so much that they decided not to attend Senator’s games. After a terrible lone season the Senators left and with them professional hockey in New Haven.

Fast forward to the summer of 1997, when David Gregory purchased the Carolina Monarchs brought a franchise back to New Haven. After years of an empty arena, a team would once again breathe life into the old Coliseum. Still this new team needed an identity. It was decided that the team would be called the “Beast” in order to pay homage to the city of New Haven. The Beast mascot symbolized the gothic architecture, especially the gargoyles, that the city was famous for. While this logo drew criticism for looking like a goofy gremlin, or a bad comic book character,  to New Haven hockey fans it was a cool and unique look that represented the great history

A logo that will always be one of my favorites

A logo that creatively represented the great history of New Haven

of the city. The Beast colors were derived from their parent clubs, the Hurricanes and Panthers, and soon Beastmania swept the city. The games were soon packed and hockey was once again the pulse of the city. Heck the New Haven green even had Beast paw prints on the sidewalk! The new minor league club was one of the more talented rosters in the AHL as they went 71-68-14 in their tenure while also added a dimension the Constitution state. Now with two minor league teams in Hartford and New Haven it created a bitter rivalry between the two cities,  a new dynamic that Connecticut had never experienced. While the Sound Tigers and Whale continue a similar rivalry today, Bridgeport vs. Hartford was nothing compared to New Haven vs. Hartford. We’ve battled it out for who should have been the capital and which city was the best in the state. The rivalry between the Wolf Pack and Beast went further than geography, but old hockey wounds. First, the Beast were the last piece of the Hartford Whalers to remain in the state which stirred up frustration since their was no NHL team in the state while also having people support the Beast since they were part of the former Whalers. Another reason this rivalry was so bitter was because of the Wolf Pack affiliation with the hated Rangers. Despite being told over and over again that the new minor league team would look nothing like the Rangers, it was funny how the Wolf Pack had the same colors and uniforms the Rangers had. This rivalry had everything from geography, passionate fans, and history.

The Beast left a lasting legacy on the Elm city

The Beast left a lasting legacy on the Elm city

Throughout their run the Beast had great rivalries with Hartford, Springfield, and Providence and provided the city with the with the high level of hockey the city had missed for years. Sadly the Beast, much like their predecessors would not last. By the end of 1999 the Beast would end their run in New haven as they left the Coliseum. There were many reasons the Beast left, but the primary reason was the declining Coliseum that desperately needed a makeover. Other factors included a somewhat declining attendance, and a general lack of support from the city of New Haven especially the mayor. While they may be gone, and there are many people who can be blamed for their departure, the Beast left a great legacy that many people wonder what would have happened if they stayed? The Beast provided my generation with great hockey and helped to inspire generations of kids to lace up their skates and become hockey players. In my previous article (click the link) I talked about how the Beast provided the spark for their passion and love I have for sports today.

I can still remember the life-long memories of going to the games with my dad and that my ultimate goal was to be a Beast player when I grew up. While only certain fragments of the Beast remain today, this is the only live action I could find click here, for my generation their legacy will live on in our memories. While the city tried once again to revive hockey with the New Haven Knights in the United Hockey League they faced many problems like the Beast. First fans were frustrated with the drop from the AHL to UHL and did not support the team like they had with the Beast of Night Hawks. Confronted with frustrated fans, falling attendance, and the same Coliseum problems confronting previous tenants, predictably the Knights didn’t last. It’s been years since the Beast put on those Gargoyle jerseys and skated on the freshly polished Coliseum ice, but for me it seems just like yesterday. While they may be gone they will never be forgotten.  Who was your favorite New Haven hockey team? Please take our poll below! Don’t forget to subscribe and follow my blog for my weekly posts. Please comment and let me know what topic you’d like me to write about. Thanks.