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More than 200 alumni gathered at Angelina’s pub on Broadway in downtown Detroit, RIT’s official Frozen Four headquarters, to set the tone for the school’s showdown with Wisconsin Thursday afternoon.
Cliff Cummings ’05 hadn’t been to a Tigers hockey game in more than five years. But he wasn’t going to miss the biggest one of them all.
“This is amazing,” Cummings says. “I’m going to be right there with the Corner Crew. It’s going to be loud and it’s going to be obnoxious.”
John McFarland ’86 made the trip from Connecticut.“I wasn’t going to miss this after being at the regional in Albany,” said McFarland. “This has been amazing. I’m happy for the team and the university. I remember when we won at Division II and III. That was great back then in the ’80s. But this is a completely new level. Amazing!”
Destler jets to Detroit
RIT President Bill Destler had to please his bosses today before jetting to Detroit for the Frozen Four. The RIT Board of Trustees had its scheduled meeting and Destler gave several business presentations.
The president then hopped on a corporate jet with Board Chair Don Boyce and other RIT dignitaries. The jet landed at a small municipal airport after 49 minutes in the air. Destler and the RIT group arrived at Ford Field just before faceoff.
“This is a grand event—today is an amazing day for RIT,” Destler says.
The president was scheduled to jet back to Rochester tonight for more Trustee meetings tomorrow morning.
Al Simone in the House
Retired RIT President Al Simone made the trip to Detroit. It was Simone, back in 2004, who brought the Tigers to Division I along with the Board of Trustees.
Simone was always cautious about RIT going Division I in sports because he was concerned about academic integrity. But he felt the Tigers joining the Atlantic Hockey Association was a good fit because of the academic quality of the other schools in the league.
Simone gave credit to Head Coach Wayne Wilson for elevating the Tigers to be among college hockey’s elite programs.
“I thought we would be competitive and be contenders eventually,” said Simone. “But not within five years. Credit here: Wayne Wilson. I admire his coaching and motivating ability, his personal example, and his focus on recruiting students who are academically oriented and who can play well under a team concept.”
Tigers hockey fans have found a new place to gather: Twitter. As RIT made its preparations for the Frozen Four, fans across the country shared their thoughts on the team’s incredible run 140 characters at a time.
“This is the first time I’ve used Twitter as a networking tool. It’s allowed me to connect to RIT alumni around the world,” Sergey Katsev ‘05 says. “The other day, I saw a tweet that there was going to be an RIT hockey viewing party at the United Nations in Germany. How’d they pull that off?”
Kevin Twitty ’05 feels the same way.
“I’ve gotten to follow people I’ve never heard of before on Twitter because they were using the hashtag #RITHockey,” Twitty says. “It’s great to see RIT starting to get a national following.”
Bob Finnerty also contributed to this story.