|Mega-Boone makes the first appearance of the season|
I want to be clear: This is not an attack on The Clarion. This is not an attack on the author of the article, Carolyn Angiollo. She is one of the best student fans at games and supports DU athletics through and through. Her article brought to light a student issue that some believe does not reflect well on our beloved Pioneers. I applaud her for taking on a controversial issue and thoughtfully articulating one side of the argument.
It is my understanding that some "members of the DU community" have contacted Chancellor Chopp and expressed their displeasure about the student section chants. Such chants come across vulgar in nature and may not be appropriate for the ears of children...or so they claim. Some of these chants include insulting the opposing goalie's mother and referring to sexual terms and items as the main point of a given chant. I won't go into any further detail. You can use your imagination if you haven't been to a hockey game this year.
I am a 5th year DU student working toward both my Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Accountancy and I've been one of the most consistent supporters of DU hockey during my time on campus. With the exception of my time abroad during my junior year, I've missed just 3 or 4 games DU played in Colorado. I haven't missed a CC game in Denver or in Colorado Springs and I haven't missed an Air Force game at either location.
I mention this because this is the first time the student section chants have become an issue. In the last five years, chants haven't changed. So why is this an issue? Why now? Has the crowd composition at hockey games changed so drastically that those who weren't previously offended don't come anymore?
Before I sat down to write this, I reached out to Chancellor Chopp and asked her these and other questions...0 of which were answered. Instead she emailed me this statement:
In her defense, we are nearing the end of the quarter and her schedule is probably full. She may not have had a chance to respond to my questions with much thought, so I'm inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt."I am thrilled with the enthusiasm of our students. In fact, this is why we partnered with the Undergraduate Student Government to pilot a program to provide free tickets to DU students (both undergraduates and graduate students). I trust the creativity and commitment of our students, and I know they will figure out how they should support our athletic teams with cheers that are both clever and uphold our values of good sportsmanship. My main hope is that we can get more students out cheering on fellow students and supporting one another, while also building a stronger DU community."
While she didn't give me any concrete answers, Chancellor Chopp did give me a chance to read between the lines: this issue has been blown out of proportion.
The administration loves the growing school spirit and it is extremely unlikely they will do anything to stifle this progress. So students, you can relax. You can continue being loud and extremely supportive. Keep doing your thing.
To those who find such chants offensive and/or inappropriate: understand that a college hockey game is not meant to be a "PG" environment. At its tamest, it's meant to be PG-13. These are college students at one end of the ice.
In fact, schools like Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth, and North Dakota all have much more rowdy student sections than the Pios and these schools use most, if not all, of the same chants that our student section uses. DU students didn't come up with these chants by themselves. They've been around for years.
A condemnation of the DU student section is a condemnation of the entire student section culture in college hockey. DU is not unique. DU is not better or worse than these schools (well, maybe better than Duluth's). DU is right where it should be: it has a loud, supportive, growing student fan base...
Student section you continue to impress! That's the best and loudest you guys have been since I've been here! #goldpan @DU_Hockey @LetsGoDU— Grant Arnold (@grantarnold39) November 7, 2015
...and the hockey team has noticed. Coach Montgomery and various players have voiced their joy at the energy the student section provides on a nightly basis. A loud, energetic crowd means better Pioneer hockey. I checked. There's a direct correlation. There is a reason the Pios are undefeated and dominate opponents on home ice: noise. The hockey team loves it and I guarantee they don't care what's being chanted by the student section.
So to the various members of "The DU community," I say:
Students, stay loud. Stay vulgar, but classy and keep doing your thing.
Other fans, relax. It's a hockey game. Students are there to have fun just like you are. Understand that the students are not going to tailor their experience to what you wish yours to be. Enjoy the moment. Relish in the fact that you're witnessing the transition into an era of the best school spirit in DU's history.
The student section is fine just the way it is.