It’s striking—absolutely striking! I mean, I’ve been a hockey fan for a long time, but what happened this past weekend is about more than just hockey. It’s about community—a campus community and the community of Rochester—finding a common voice and proudly exclaiming three letters: R-I-T!
I hope that you, in some way, took advantage of the opportunity to revel in the spectacular performance of the men’s hockey team as it secured a berth in the prestigious NCAA Frozen Four tournament, which takes place April 8 and 10 in Detroit. What the Tigers have accomplished within merely five seasons of Division I hockey is truly amazing, and it’s a legitimate source of pride for our university.
I had the pleasure on Friday to join coworkers in the RITz SportsZone to witness the Tigers’ stunning upset over the East Region’s top-seed, the University of Denver. The camaraderie shared by students, faculty and staff—particularly as we sweated out the final few minutes of a one-goal contest—was something to behold. All of us left thinking that maybe, just maybe, this was the start of something great.
Over the hours that followed, I spent a lot of time online watching Tiger pride swell across the Internet. Forums like Facebook and Twitter were lighting up with colorful commentary. More and more followers were flocking to the men’s hockey Facebook page. If you haven’t done so already, become a ‘fan’ at www.facebook.com/RIThockey.
Then, on Saturday, I received the treat of a lifetime. My son and I made the trip to Albany to be inside the Times Union Center and watch the Tigers make history. How spectacular to be engulfed in a sea of orange—a brotherhood of fans—watching the guys put on a clinic against the University of New Hampshire. I anticipate it will always remain one of the greatest memories.
But it’s not just RIT. The Tiger are clearly the talk of the town. The Rochester community finally finds itself at the epicenter of high profile, athletic achievement. No more trying to share in the accomplishments of teams from Syracuse or Buffalo. This one is all ours, Rochester! You’re Tigers too!
So that’s why I say this is all about community. Regardless of how this all ends, let’s enjoy the opportunity to share in something that is truly first rate.
Photo: Tigers fans await the team’s return from Albany early Sunday morning (Ron Goldberg, RIT Alumni Relations)