It’s crazy the Stanley Cup Playoffs are wrapping up its first rounds. Luckily for me, my hometown team — the St. Louis Blues — advanced to the second round.
Just over three months ago, I had the opportunity to cover the Blues while shadowing beat writer Tom Timmermann at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
At the time, the Blues were in last place and it didn’t seem like they’d even have a chance at Lord Stanley’s Cup. Now, after defeating the Winnipeg Jets in dramatic fashion, they’re the 5:1 favorites to win the whole thing, according to Las Vegas betting odds.
That experience with the Post-Dispatch not only made me realize how much I want to go into sports journalism, but also how much fun it would be to cover a hockey team after graduation or even collegiately.
The excitement of the Blues also makes me wish Loyola had a hockey team. Imagine all the hype fans pour into the men’s basketball team poured into a hockey team.
Fans walking around in maroon and gold hockey jerseys. Buses to the hockey rink to support the “Ice Ramblers.” Chick-Fil-A handed out before games to get people there. It would just be a lot of fun for people who love professional hockey.
Think about it. Chicago fans already go hard for the Blackhawks and a majority of Loyola’s population is from Chicago, so I could totally see them becoming full-fledged fanboys and fangirls for a men’s hockey team — not only Blackhawks fans, but people from other cities as well.
Soon-to-be Phoenix overlord Mary Norkol pointed out Loyola has a giant Minnesotan population and they love hockey.
“Hell freezes over there for months at a time, so it’s the only thing to do,” Norkol said.
Not only would it have a huge fanbase, but it would also allow for more athletic opportunities. If Loyola Athletics was to take on a men’s hockey team, in order to conform to Title IX, they’d also make a women’s team. That’s two more teams with equal opportunities for men and women.
Another reason to add a hockey team is because of Chicago weather. It’s too cold for outdoor sports from as early as September to as late as April. So introducing another indoor sport — even though it’s on ice — would allow for more sports for more fans to go to.
One aspect of hockey fans love is the fights that break out among the athletes from both teams. While a Jesuit school would not endorse fighting, the students definitely would endorse the violent act of dropping gloves.
Here’s the bonus: Loyola would already have people wanting to join the team. There are both men’s and women’s club hockey teams, and those players would probably love to play collegiately.
I have a friend who’s on the men’s club team and he was actually between Loyola and Saint Louis University (SLU). He was looking at SLU because he’d have a chance to be on the Billikens’ hockey team. While he ended up at Loyola, it was definitely a factor in his decision.
Plus, Chicago has a huge adolescent hockey system already in place, so it’s not like Loyola would have trouble recruiting people out of high school.
Sure, there are counter arguments — money and space come to mind — but honestly, there are so many more benefits than consequences.
So, Loyola Athletics, please read my column and take this as my official letter begging you to at least consider adding hockey teams for all the reasons above and more.
And if nothing else, it would make Loyola more attractive as a school. *wink wink*