Living near the University of New Hampshire, where my wife and I attended college…..and met, provides us a lot of opportunities, one of which is attending college sporting events.
In most cases, college sports presents a relatively inexpensive way to acquaint our children with a variety of athletics such as gymnastics, volleyball, baseball, basketball, swimming, track and field, tennis, football, lacrosse, soccer, etc. And my favorite… hockey.
A few weeks back my oldest son and I were given tickets to the UNH Men’s Hockey game against Vermont. The UNH Hockey program is very good and both the Men’s and Women’s team rank in the top for the country. They are also in the NCAA Hockey East division, which is one of the toughest in the country. The men’s games are a bit on the expensive side, $21 or $23 per ticket. We can go to the Manchester Monarchs, American Hockey League affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings, for cheaper.
The arena is usually packed for the men’s games with spectators of all ages for the home and visiting teams, the UNH Band and a very interesting student section. The games are fast paced with good passing and hard hitting. The game went to the final minutes tied 2-2, and then UNH scored to win the game with a final score of UNH 3 and Vermont 2.
One aspect of college hockey that I like is that fighting is not accepted as compared to the professional and minor leagues where you can witness at least one fight every game. I do not think young children need to be exposed to this.
I do find, especially with hockey, that spectators can be very outspoken about what is taking place on the ice, but I believe in college sports that people are more respectful of others around them. I did have a situation before at a Monarchs game where a group of guys behind us kept swearing and yelling at the referees. Other spectators started yelling back at them that there were young children nearby and that they should refrain from such remarks.
The UNH Women’s hockey is different in respect to spectators. There is usually not a large crowd in attendance, with a small student section and one person playing a trumpet. I am beginning to see more people going than from years past.
The cost is $6 per adult, $4 for youth, and five years old and under is free. All tickets are general admission. We attended the UNH Women’s Hockey game against Providence on February 14. My entire family went for $16 for tickets and about $10 for snacks.
I have been going to the UNH Women’s hockey game with my oldest son for about six years. The games are excellent to watch with fast skating, great passing and stick handling and yes even some checking. We sat right on the boards on the UNH shooting side and moved to the other side for the 2nd period, then back again for the 3rd. There are enough empty seats that you can sit anywhere in the arena during the game to get different perspectives. When we arrived our son saw one of his classmates and they sat together throughout the game.
Because the crowds are not very large, the kids were able to move around the arena and see the players enter the ice. Our youngest son got a puck that flew off the ice.
When the game was over, there was an autograph session and the kids were able to get signatures from all the players on a poster of the team, which they received for free.
Oh yeah, the final score was UNH 4 and Providence 1 and this was the sixth year in a row that UNH Women have clinched the Hockey East regular season title. If you every get a chance, come over to “Cat Country” and check it out, you will not be disappointed.
Good luck to both UNH Men’s and Women’s Hockey teams in the upcoming playoffs!
Another nice feature with college sports is the kids clubs. I am not sure if all the colleges have them, but we have only used the UNH Kids Club. Our kids have been part of that for a few years. Our son’s favorite part was the “Skate with the Cats”. This is an opportunity for the kids to skate on the ice with the UNH hockey players, both Men and Women, and get signatures.
The following are links to some of the colleges or universities in New Hampshire that have athletic programs:
- St Anselm College, Manchester
- Colby-Sawyer College, New London
- Daniel Webster College, Nashua
- Dartmouth College, Dartmouth
- Franklin Pierce University, Rindge
- Keene State College, Keene
- New England College, Henniker
- Plymouth State University, Plymouth
- Rivier College, Nashua
- Sothern New Hampshire University, Manchester
- University of New Hampshire, Durham (UNH)