Fans line up for Huskies

By Nate Owen, News Staff

A frigid winter morning couldn’t deter Husky fans from clamoring for the hottest tickets on campus Saturday at Matthews Arena.
Beanpot tickets went on sale at 9 a.m. Saturday, but some students arrived as early as 5:30 a.m. and waited outside until Matthews was opened at 7 a.m., said George Gardner, associate athletics director of external affairs.
Jamie Ruben, a freshman communication studies major and Cara Freitas, a freshman undecided major, said they got to Matthews at about 6:20 a.m.
‘I’m very excited,’ Ruben said. ‘I never really watched hockey but I love the whole school spirit thing because there never was much of that at my high school.’
Gardner said that when Matthews opened at 7 a.m., there were approximately 250 students outside. The temperature at that time hovered to around 10 degrees Fahrenheit, with a wind chill that made it feel like 6 below zero. By the time the ticket windows opened at 8:30 a.m., however, he said there were almost 550 students in the lobby.
Students were only limited to one ticket this year, as opposed to previous years when they could get two. A total of 1,300 student tickets were available; Gardner said by the time the gates closed at 2 p.m., just more than 1,000 tickets had been sold. The remaining allotment of tickets will be made available to faculty and staff. Any extra tickets will be made available early next week, Gardner said.
Gardner said it’s satisfying to watch the athletics department’s hard work on programs like Ncentives pay off.
‘This is a pretty good indication that they’re working,’ he said. ‘[Everyone] is in good spirits, this was sort of an event in and of itself. We opened the doors and there were no mass riots. They were all excited about it.’
Since mid-October, more than a third of the student body has attended either a hockey or a basketball game, Gardner said.
‘The data really shows an increase in attendance,’ he said. ‘And it’s not just the numbers. You can really feel the energy, it feels like it is building momentum. And of course the winning teams help too. … It’s a seven day job for a lot of us and we’re thrilled that we get to come and watch the games and all the excitement.’
The school is on pace to break a record for attendance at men’s hockey games. Through eight games, the team has drawn 36,538 fans, Gardner said. If that holds for the rest of the season, Northeastern will have drawn just over 63,000 fans, which would be 15,000 more then last season.
Keith Thoma, a junior computer engineering major, said he’s noticed an improvement in school spirit and said the Athletics Department is much better at promoting games.
‘They’re a lot more organized than they’ve been,’ he said. ‘I like Ncentives, trying to get people out there, which is a good thing. When I came here as a freshman, it sort of sucked to be honest, but they’re doing a better job [promoting] and the teams are good now.’
With the buildup in school spirit, there’s only one thing left for Northeastern to do:’ win the Beanpot, something which hasn’t been done in 21 years.
‘Hopefully they’re going to win it,’ Thoma said. ‘I just want to get that first game out of the way and then worry about the second one. I don’t want to jinx it.’

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