Sweet Redemption: 16 years later Yale rights CT’s greatest wrong

After 16 years After our greatest tragedy CT can be proud

After 16 years After our greatest tragedy CT can be proud

16 years to the day that Connecticut sports suffered its greatest tragedy, the death of the Hartford Whalers, Connecticut hockey fans finally had their redemption. It was a day of pride  in Pittsburgh when the championship for College hockey came down to two Connecticut teams, the Quinnipiac Bobcats and the Yale Bulldogs. The Battle of Whitney Avenue was taking place in front of an entire nation who had no idea of the emotional state of the Constitution State. Sure we have the Uconn basketball teams but our greatest pride was our only pro franchise the Hartford Whalers, who were ripped from a passionate fan base that has never fully recovered. Connecticut hockey  entered a dark age as it fell into the shadows of New York and Boston hockey for 16 long agonizing years. While the Whalers may never return, without question 2013 was a landmark year for Connecticut hockey. The Quinnipiac Bobcats became the number one team in the nation and put Connecticut college hockey back on the map.  By the end of the Frozen Four tournament the two teams who remained were both from Connecticut. Forget Boston or Minnesota, Connecticut is now becoming the home for college hockey. You had the premier team in the land the, Quinnipiac Bobcats versus the sixteenth seeded cinderella team of the tournament, the Yale Bulldogs. Whoever won would bring the first national championship to the state and would bring a new dimension to arguably the best in state rivalry that no one could have dreamed about. As a hockey fan I thought it be incredibly if either team just made it to the Frozen Four but both teams squaring off in the finals? Talk about wildest dream scenario. The game itself was terrific with both teams playing their best hockey of the season but in the end Yale was able to pull off the upset with a 4-0 win. Yale became the lowest seed to ever when the tournament and only the fifth team to record a shutout victory over arguable the best team in the nation.

Despite the loss, The Bobcats put CT hockey on the map this season

Despite the loss, The Bobcats put CT hockey on the map this season

Despite the loss the Bobcats represented the state well by being the number one team in the country for weeks and laying the ground work for even better success in the future. Now with the national recognition and the TD Bank North Center as recruiting tools it’s not hard to imagine that now QU can bring in even better players and be back in the hunt for the National Championship sooner than later. It’s amazing that a program that once was a DIII club team and that only became a DI program in 2000 was in the national championship just 13 years later. Despite losing many seniors, including star goalie Eric Hartzell the Bobcats have established themselves among hockey’s elite and now can recruit top talent by saying they are a national contenders. Yale, who became a hockey program in 1893 has added to its programs rich history by finally adding the National Championship to its incredible resume. Years after the last minor league

Yale has made New Haven the college hockey capital

Yale has made New Haven the capital of college hockey

team played in the Coliseum, Yale has made New Haven the capital for college hockey. While this year was exciting whats even more exciting is the future these programs have. With the national exposure and now one of the best rivalries in college sports I truly believe that these programs best days are still ahead of them. Back in 2005 when Quinnipiac and Yale first faced off in the ECAC no 0ne could have imagined it would have led to this. Whether or a Bobcat or Bulldog fan you still have to be proud of Connecticut for what they have done to put our state on the map this season. While the Whalers have left a hole that will never be truly replaced, Yale and Quinnipiac have made hockey fans proud and given our great state some of the best college hockey. Even during the game the sound of the brass bonanza rang loud and proud from both bands and became the fight song for Connecticut once again. Finally after 16 long years the hockey gods are once again smiling over Connecticut and I have a  promise for all Connecticut hockey fans. This is not an ending, this is just the beginning. Thank you Quinnipiac and Yale for the amazing ride this year and the even brighter future that lies ahead.

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

Move over Boston there’s a new home for college hockey

Quinnipiac is now #2 in the nation

Quinnipiac is now #2 in the nation

Yale is # 8 in the nation

Yale is # 8 in the nation

If Detroit is known as hockey town for the NHL, there is no question that Boston has been known as the college hockey town. Four college teams have dominated the bean pot region and the kings of this hockey kingdom are the Boston College Eagles and the Boston University Terriers. Both programs are perennial contenders with the Eagles winning three of the past five National Championships and the Terriers winning it all in 2009. While these two superpowers of college hockey have dominated for years Boston is also home to the Harvard Crimson and NorthEastern which have also had a major impact on college hockey. But hang on, because the power maybe shifting south and more specifically to Whitney Avenue. Only seven miles apart are two of the hottest teams in college hockey and what is fast becoming one of, if not the biggest rivalry in college hockey. The Yale Bulldogs and Quinnipiac Bobcats have always made noise in the ECAC Division but now they have roared into the national spotlight. In the most recent USCHO national poll both teams have cracked the top 10. While both have been in the top 10 before this is the first time that both schools have been in the top 10 at the same time. Both teams are riding major winning streaks and have been forces in the college hockey landscape. The Yale Bulldogs are currently riding a five game win streak and  defeated both Harvard and Dartmouth this past weekend. The Quinnipiac Bobcats have remained unbeaten in their last sixteen games and have achieved the highest ranking in the University’s history as the second best team in the nation. Both Yale and Quinnipiac have dominated the national field with a combined 13-0-2 record against ranked opponents this season. This will only add fuel to an already heated rivalry as both teams still have to play each other for their annual meetings at both Ingalls Rink, and TD Bank Center. Not only are these two teams pushing Connecticut into the national picture but another college team could soon enter the race. Just by saying Uconn or Connecticut the first thing people think of is basketball. Maybe a few people might think of the Huskies football team but when asked about the hockey program most people say wait, Uconn has a hockey team? Indeed they do and the so called forgotten child in the Uconn athletic department is now making a major splash. This past weekend the Huskies played tough against the Bobcats and lost 2-1 in

Uconn is joining Hockey East in 2014

Uconn is joining Hockey East in 2014

 the inagural meeting between the two. Uconn made  headlines this summer when it was announced that the hockey program would be getting a major overhaul. Not only would the program be joining the prestigious Hockey East conference but it would also be adding 18 scholarships for the program. Another major announcement was that for the Hockey East conference games is that the Huskies would move from the Mark Edwards Freitas Ice Forum to the XL center in Hartford. While the basketball program has the proper facilities the Hockey team doesn’t and is now exploring new options which include building a new ice rink on the Storrs campus. For the short term this is great news for the XL Center whose contract with the Connecticut Whale will expire at the end of the upcoming season and whose future is up in the air. However, the XL Center may not be the the longterm solution for the program because of it’s age and size. Uconn can just look at the blueprint Quinnipiac used for their success. The key cog in building the Quinnipiac machine came with the construction of the TD Bank Center in 2007 for 52 million dollars. The arena has been a major tool in recruitment and one of if not the major reason behind the success of the Bobcats over the past few seasons. While Connecticut has been known for the success of it’s college basketball teams, it is also famously known for losing it’s NHL franchise the Hartford Whalers in 1997, the only professional franchise the state has had. Connecticut hasn’t had the same identity since the Whalers departed for Carolina but now thee college hockey teams could put Connecticut back on the national hockey map. Now if the Huskies continue building in the right direction while Yale and Quinnipiac continue to dominate in the national field Connecticut may soon well dethrone Boston as the mecca for college hockey. Even though these hockey teams have a long way to go before the national tournament the buzz they’ve been creating cannot be ignored. Before we know it Yale or Quinnipiac may not only be in the Frozen Four, but they also may bring back the states first national championship in ice hockey.