Men’s hockey games are about to get a little rowdier.
At Saturday night’s game against Quinnipiac University, a group of Yale students, known as “crowd leaders,” plan to make the student section a force to be reckoned with.
They plan on handing out fliers, leading chants and generally boosting morale at the famous 3500 capacity Ingalls Rink, more commonly known as “The Whale.” The plan revolves around a “cheerbook” developed by Peter Jasinski ’12.
“[I wanted to] make The Whale more imposing for visiting teams,” he said.
Included on the list are chants aimed towards Yale’s ECAC foes including Quinnipiac (“Toad’s is our place”) and Princeton (“Harvard sucks, Harvard sucks, who the hell are you?”). Additionally, the students are starting to personalize the chants. Last Saturday, cries of “Miller high life” and “Oh yeah, O’Neill” resounded throughout the rink at the successes of forwards Andrew Miller ’13 and Brian O’Neill ’12, respectively.
“We’re trying to make the experience of watching a game at The Whale much more fun through increased crowd participation,” Jasinski said. “College hockey is known for creating a really hostile environment for the opposing team.”
Jasinski said he did not think a similar attempt has been made to harness the power of a Yale crowd.
“I think this is the first time we’ve had a ‘cheerbook’ for anything,” said Jasinski.
Even though these crowd leaders have only recently formed, Michael Jones ’12, who plans to take part in rallying the Yale supporters, said that he sees the crowd leaders as building upon the momentum that the hockey team has had in recent years.
“The formalizing of cheers is new as of this year [but] the sell-out crowds and enthusiasm are not new,” Jones said. “The ‘cheerbook’ is just an outgrowth of the enthusiasm of fans over the past few years. The success of the hockey team over the past two years has been the source of this.”
After an 11–17–3 season four years ago, Yale begins the 2010-’11 season ranked fifth in the nation and is coming off a year in which they put together a 21–10–3 record and made it to the coveted NCAA Northeast Regional Finals. With Yale ranked so high in the nationwide polls, Jasinski said he detected a lot of room for improvement in the fans’ enthusiasm.
“I don’t think there’s a limit to how rowdy the crowd can be,” Jasinski said. “Ideally, we’d like to have tons of noise. I think people notice, but we have a national contending team in hockey. We want to get the rest of the students involved in the game to make it a better atmosphere in The Whale.”
The “crowdleaders” hope to harness Yale’s pride and the ardor of its students’ “bright college years” — and they plan to keep the chants coming.
“I’m sure they’ll be a combination of more satirical chants aimed at the other team and more supportive at ours,” Jones said.
Members of the men’s team praised their avid arsenal of spectators who regularly attend their games. The metamorphosis of the Yale men’s hockey fan base from a dormant one to a rabid one seemed to have come almost overnight, forward Denny Kearney ’11 said.
“Coming in freshman year, we didn’t have a great year,” he said. “Down the stretch, sophomore year, we had a few sellouts. Last year, it was very good right from the beginning. People were excited.”
Kearney said he hoped that Jasinski’s “cheerbook” would further heighten the enthusiasm in The Whale.
“I haven’t heard too much about it, but that’s cool,” he said. “I’m excited if it’ll improve the atmosphere even more.”