Sunday, November 2, 2008

Puck Swami Describes Halloween In Boonetown

(above) Boonetown proved to be a dangerous place for Tigers on Halloween Night

LetsGoDU: Longtime Denver hockey fan Puck Swami wrote this essay for LetsGoDU on the festivities and atmosphere in the DU student section Friday night. He also writes a blog entitled Puck Swami's Know Your Foe which is updated every Thursday.

It's building.

It started with the smell of grilled bratwurst, and the sound of hockey sticks battering Tiger piƱatas just outside Magness Arena at the DU Grilling Society Pregame Party.

And inside, 30 minutes before Friday's game. there were 300 DU students standing in the south end. Usually there are 10 or 12 until almost the faceoff.

By game time, there were 500. And by the second period, there were 800 of them filling out the south end.

This was big.

The usual cell phones, Abercrombie shirts and nonchalance were nowhere to be seen. They had been replaced by Halloween Costumes. Posters. Full Body paint. Stuffed tigers hanging from nooses. Cleavage. Boone on Togas. You couldn't take your eyes off them.

Cowbells. Drums. Chants. Sweet Caroline. 1957. CC sucks. Cheering Chevy. Jeering Bachman. You couldn't hear yourself talk to your neighbor.

But more than anything, you could feel it. Something else was going on. This was more than just a rivalry game. This was different.

A crowd known for only cheering shots, goals and saves was now outright roaring on good shifts, forechecks and penalty kills.

The DU pep band was right in the center of it, students and alumni playing the DU fight song together at double speed, while students shouted the words and pumped their fist at every "Rah".

They were were together as one student body in a way I haven't seen DU students in 20 years.

And all across Magness Arena, the rest of the fans were grinning, cheering, and enjoying the collegiate spirit.

A night where they didn't just sit around and socialize, but a night where they shouted, sang and embraced the true college experience.

Most importantly, the team noticed. They hit harder. They worked harder. They outplayed the #1 team in the country and outshot them by 17.

Even coach Gwozdecky, who is usually wound as tight as the gears of a Swiss watch on gameday, commented that the student section and the pep band made a difference.

Because they did.

They cared.

They brought it.

And it mattered.

Magness is becoming a home ice advantage.

People are engaged.

Pumped up. Into it.

Let's keep it going.

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