Column: A new type of Husky Pride

By Jared Sugerman, News Staff

Throughout my first few years as a college student, although the temptation was omnipresent, I had never traveled southward during Spring Break. Too often, hockey games of great significance tended to coincide with our scheduled vacation, and, unfortunately, this year presented no exception.
Our men’s team hosted the Wildcats from New Hampshire, Hockey East’s most successful team during this regular season Feb. 26. Our women’s squad welcomed the Huskies of Connecticut to Matthews Arena, as they played toward a berth in the Hockey East semi-finals Feb. 27. Then, the men went to work again, competing with the Terriers of Boston University for a playoff bid and home-ice advantage during the postseason’s first round.
It seemed as if, once again, I would be choosing pucks and pads, rather than beaches in the Bahamas. Yet, Friday, March 5, I climbed onto a southbound bus that took me away from Matthews Arena, where another hockey game will not be played until sometime after my graduation from Northeastern.
After stowing my carriage (packed with T-shirts, flip-flops and a bathing suit) in the luggage compartment, I walked on board and found a crowd much smaller than I had expected. Though all of the seats had allegedly been sold, approximately half of them were unoccupied. But, that was of minimal concern to those on board; we simply filled the empty space with discussions of Hockey East, the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), and other topics that may or may not commonly occupy the minds of those traveling southward during Spring Break.
No, we were not whisked to some tropical locale, teeming with sun and sandy shores; instead, 10 hours after our departure, we arrived in Richmond, Virginia, where we were joined by a few hundred other fans, all of whom had come to root for the men’s basketball team as they participated in the CAA tournament.
Within the arena, we were outnumbered by fans of teams from local schools, such as Virginia Commonwealth University, whose campus is little more than a mile from the Richmond Coliseum. However, following the games each night, dozens of us would convene to continue cheering for the Huskies, painting the streets, restaurants and local bars red and black, and filling them all with chants of “Let’s go Huskies” and “NORTH-EASTERN.” I wish that I could recall how often Northeastern had been complimented for its impressive turnout and enthusiasm.
After the Huskies had been eliminated from the tournament by William & Mary Sunday, we continued to celebrate our team, chanting the names of each player as they walked through their hotel. They responded by inviting us to join them in a moment of shared spirituality and passion for all that we represent, either as student athletes or supporters of Northeastern’s athletic program.
We returned to Boston Monday, one day earlier than most of us would have preferred. Although a greater number of seats had been taken aboard the bus, the volume of conversation seemed to have diminished as compared to that of our journey southward, and the atmosphere seemed, understandably, less jovial. However, as we prepared to gather our belongings, my Huntington News colleague Andrew Parente said he had never been more proud to be a Husky. Though I do not consider him to be a close friend, I am convinced that his passion for Northeastern’s signature athletic programs is comparable to that of any other Northeastern student. After all that transpired during our time in Richmond, I believe his words spoke the truth.

– Jared Sugerman can be reached
at [email protected]

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