During Thursday's live chat on Gophers men's hockey, somone lamented the lack of students at games this season and suggested it was because the U of M put so many restrictions on their ticket purchases.
Not so, says one grad student in an e-mail to me later that day. He says the reason students aren't showing up is apathy. Here ie his e-mail:
When reading the replay [of the live chat], I saw a comment regarding the attendance at Mariucci and the student section in particular. It simultaneously made me nod my head in agreement and sigh in frustration.
I've been a student at the U since '05-'06 (4 years undergrad, two years grad) and have had hockey tickets every year. I fondly remember Ryan Potulny scoring 38 goals his senior season, for example. (And I remember less fondly the Holy Cross debacle). In that respect there aren't many students with as much of a tenure.
Until a couple years ago tickets could be a tough get. The athletic department had a lottery each year, and students could only buy tickets for one night - Friday or Saturday, not both. Moreover, until this year there were, of course, two sections of students, the main one in the West end of the rink in 13/14 and the second section in 2/3 in the East end.
Now, of course, the students have coalesced into just the 13/14 section, and we were given the option to buy tickets to both nights of games this year. No lottery, no other restrictions.
So the comment made by the guest on restricting students when it comes to buying tickets is not accurate. The truth is, and this makes me sad, is that the demand just isn't as high anymore.
Current freshman have seen two straight years of missing the NCAAs, and it's been four years since the Gophers had a team that was truly upper echelon (the '06-'07 version). As always, and as the football attendance has showed, the product on the field/rink dictates the enthusiasm in most circumstances. There will always be college hockey diehards like me (I grew up attending games at the NHC in St. Cloud...initially cheering for the Gophers was a shock to the system) but I'm not the majority, especially among students. It's too bad, but it is what it is.
Parker Kienholz, University of Minnesota '11 - M.S. AEM
2011 FROZEN FOUR A SELLOUT
I've never been to a Frozen Four -- the one next month will be my first -- and remember reading there were concerns about selling out last season in Detroit.
So I didn't provide a good response during Thursday's chat when asked if the Frozen Four at the Xcel in early April is a sellout.
Checking on it, rhe NCAA tells me it is technically a sellout. But there may be some tickets available the week before the event if the four participating teams return part of their allotment because they couldn't sell them.
The real postseason problem is with the four regionals. Those don't sell out, not even in the state of hockey. There have been regionals at Mariucci Arena in 2009 and the X in 2010 and, of course, the U was not in either one. Didn't make the NCAAs.
With the Gophers not playing that obviously hurt attendance. Tickets are pricey, too.