College Hockey fan behavior

Posted by goon in CHL & NCAA,Columns,Goon's World,NCAA Round Up on October 21, 2009 — 21 Comments

My dad sent me an account of a Gopher fan’s experience at Ralph Engelstad Arena this past weekend. Was I sitting in a different arena this past weekend?

Sioux Gophers and idiots on both sides.

I was at the Sioux/Gopher hockey games this weekend. The games were in Grand Forks and I was wearing Gopher gear on Friday night. Our tickets were also in the student section. We sat on the very far side of the student section. There were some Gopher fans in front of us who were clearly from the U. They were receiving a bit of heckling, and for the most part it was all in good fun, but there were a few weekend warriors” that went over the line from the UND side of things. They were invading some personal space and getting face to face with the kids from the U. Lots of you are a bitch. and you suck balls. Luckily for everybody involved where I was at, the Gopher kids stayed very chill about these 2 or 3 idiots getting too close to them.

The UND kids clearly had had way too much to drink. The problem was they kept coming back trying to instigate more and more each time. It could have turned bad pretty easy. Check out the story below. On Saturday night we also had student section tickets. I was not looking forward to the abuse again.

The night before there was a very drunk kid behind us who fell into our seats a few times. We were standing each time, but my wife got kicked once. He’s lucky he did not catch the 4 year old girl with a foot. So we got lucky Saturday nights, while we were waiting in line to get into the game some kids from the U said they had normal tickets but wanted to sit in student section. I overheard this and we traded our 4 student tickets for their 4 normal tickets. It was a much better game Saturday and we did not have to get kicked by drunk 19 year olds. All around a better experience.

While this weekend I didn’t see a lot of this stuff going on, I have witnessed this type of behavior first hand in the past at venues like the Final Five at the Xcel Energy Center. Who uses this type of language when talking to another fan from a different team in front of young children? These people should have their mouths washed out with soap. That does cross the line of what is considered acceptable behavior at a sporting event. If I brought my two year old daughter to the game I don’t want her to have to listen to this kind of vile stuff. Just because you’re a college student doesn’t give you the right to act like an ass. There is no birthright to sit in that seat at the arena; if you can’t behave, I am sure the REA management can sell that prime seat to someone will be able to conduct themselves in an acceptable manner.

Not to pick on the college students there are many examples of adult fans, both Sioux and Gopher fans, getting out of hand and acting like imbeciles as well. I heard from a friend that a female Gopher fan who happened to be pregnant was heckled and jostled at the arena this past weekend. Who the heck does that kind of a thing? Imagine your girlfriend, wife or mother having this happen to them.

In yesterday’s Grand Forks Herald there was a letter to the editor in which a person described an experience where someone dumped a beer on a Gopher fan’s head from the upper deck. That kind of behavior is unacceptable and only a moron would defend behavior like this. People like this are going to ruin it for the rest of us that like to enjoy a beer without having the game ruined by drunk, belligerent idiots. I can foresee a time where the REA might ban beer sales to college students and or everyone. These types of incidents do not paint a positive picture of Grand Forks, ND, the University of North Dakota, the University of Minnesota or the WCHA. As fans collectively we must behave better, we don’t want to look like a bunch of knuckle-dragging Neanderthals.

I know, call me old-fashioned, but some of the stuff that happened this past weekend seems to be borderline criminal or at least anti-social behavior and should be deemed as inappropriate and unacceptable. None of us should have to be a witness to this type of crap. To top off the weekend, we had an incident between two fans that could be classified as felonious with one person ending up in the ICU wing of Altru Hospital. There is nothing about this series that should lead any of us to start throwing punches at each other.

I am as pro-Fighting Sioux hockey as they come: I am all for a loud arena and an intimidating atmosphere, but some of this stuff is atrocious behavior and unfit for television. My boss who is new to the area went to a Sioux hockey game for the first time and I am sure she was impressed with the F’ the Gophers cheer, way to go UND. Remember there is friendly acceptable back and forth banter and then there is crossing the line. I also have friends that are Gopher fans, and some of them won’t even come up to Grand Forks anymore based on the type of treatment they have received from our fans.

I have to wonder if it is time for college hockey to institute a fan code of conduct for its fans like some NFL teams have. Eventually the University of North Dakota is going to have to address the behaviors of its fans at the REA.

Fan code of conduct

“The National Football League and its teams are committed to creating a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable experience for all fans, both in the stadium and in the parking lot. We want all fans attending our games to enjoy the experience in a responsible fashion. When attending a game, you are required to refrain from the following behaviors:
» Behavior that is unruly, disruptive, or illegal in nature.
» Intoxication or other signs of alcohol impairment that results in irresponsible behavior.
» Foul or abusive language or obscene gestures.
» Interference with the progress of the game (including throwing objects onto the field).
» Failing to follow instructions of stadium personnel.
» Verbal or physical harassment of opposing team fans.
“Event patrons are responsible for their conduct as well as the conduct of their guests and/or persons occupying their seats. Stadium staff will promptly intervene to support an environment where event patrons, their guests, and other fans can enjoy the event free from the above behavior. Event patrons and guests who violate these provisions will be subject to ejection without refund and loss of ticket privileges for future games.”

Like another hockey fan suggested from DU, I like the NFL fan code of conduct policy and I am all for this if being enacted at REA. If you’re an unruly fan and you can’t act in an acceptable manner, your ticket should be taken from you and you will no longer be allowed to be able to attend events in the arena. Attending college hockey is a privilege, not a right. If you can’t act like a member of the human race, do not bother coming to the arena. Someone else will gladly pay a handsome fee for that ticket and act in a respectful manner in your place.

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  • http://www.illegalcurve.com Drew

    Goon,

    I am not surprised to hear about the atrocious behaviour that went on this weekend at the games, but I am stunned that UND does not currently have a fan code of conduct. In this day and age to not have a written policy that security personnel and other fans can cite as a means to get rid of some boors, is simply outlandish and a dereliction of duty by the administration of the athletic department at UND.

  • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com goon

    Actually with the new AD they have gotten more lax and haven’t addressed fan behavior much at all. If anything I think it’s slid backwords. I was re watching the game on DVR and it was really impressive to hear the F’ the Gophers on a national tv broadcast.

  • http://www.illegalcurve.com dave

    I just think that the people who sell alcohol at the game need to police it better. The other thing, is the arena should have security or police present and visible in those sections known to get out of hand.

  • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com goon

    I suppose if you’re too drunk maybe the beer venders should cut people off is they look out of control, the thing is that they will go somewhere else.

  • rusty

    The beer vendors might not even factor into the equation. Many people, not just the students, show up to the games pissed as rats. The behaviour just worsens from there. Even in the suites, there are some people that have no businesses acting as they do.

  • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com goon

    Good call they show up drunk and they get drunker, I no problems with people that want to drink, I do have issue with people that want to start trouble. I think the security needs to be quicker in pulling the plug on the trouble makers.

  • DG

    Great article and a huge step in the right direction. By all means come to the games have fun, be loud, drink as much as you want but treat everybody with class.

    At NFL games you can send a text message to security and point out the troublemakers seats.

    One of the worst parts of this is that there are many visiting fans who could be traveling to North Dakota and spending tourist dollars on hotels, food, tickets, merchandise and everything else. Are they going to come when they hear these stories and many others?

    When people have a bad experience visiting the Ralph they tell their friends and now with the internet they can tell tens of thousands of people on message boards.

    Its just bad business and it hurts the state of North Dakota. I’d be shocked if the Ralph & UND don’t make some major changes in the coming week.

    The University of Nebraska football fans give a standing ovation to the opposing team at the end of every game…win or lose. Thats class.

  • DG

    Today’s Grand Forks Herald editorial calls out the fans who were misbehaving.

    http://www.grandforksherald.com/event/article/id/138053/

  • http://www.illegalcurve.com dave

    DG,

    Good article. Looks like the writer is getting his head bitten off in the comments section by the folks who read it. While I’m not one for removing video’s that get the crowd pumped up, I think most people missed the point, which was that something needs to be done to clean up the games.

  • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com goon

    Dg, I am not for taking the pre-game video out for the introductions I am for cleaning the arena up. JUst for the record Mike Jacobs is a polarizing figure in town.

  • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com goon

    I think we are in agreement Dave. The writer missed an opportunity. Jacobs is a major reason I only get the paper on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

  • http://www.hockeybias.com guy@hockeybias.com

    Goon,

    The comments below the Herald article suggest you have one hell of an uphill fight on your hands if you want to clean things up at the Ralph. I hope you can get the ball rolling! You are on the right track.

  • cross cheque

    Maybe this article should have been published in the Herald instead of Jacobs’. I hope that everyone realizes REA is not the only arena with bad behavior and definitely not the arena with the worst behavior. As a fan I’ve cursed fellow students for actions at games and maybe that’s were it starts. Be proactive as a fan and as a part of the Grand Forks community, what security guard wouldn’t believe a Sioux fan turning in another Sioux fan for being a jerk?

  • DG

    Mr. Jody Hodgson, the General Manager of Englestad Arena, replied to an email I sent yesterday (see below). It looks like positive changes will be coming to Englestad Arena.

    I would encourage Sioux fans to contact Mr. Hodgson with suggestions to improve the fan experience and make Engelstad Arena the best place to watch college hockey in America.

    As a DU fan I look forward to visiting the Ralph as soon as the changes are implemented either this season or in the near future.

    Damien,

    I am concerned about these issues, steps are being taken, and I share your desire to shine the most favorable light possible on college hockey. Thanks for taking the time to touch base.

    Sincerely,

    Jody

  • Charlie

    Obviously the vulgarity is nothing new to the UND student hockey fans. It sounds as if it has been out of hand for a while; at least when the Gophers roll into town.

  • Charlie
  • http://www.illegalcurve.com dave

    Charlie:
    Good link. The writer hits it right on the head.

    DG:
    I agree that more people need to be proactive, via email or telephone to make sure he is aware that people are serious about the issue.

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  • http://www.illegalcurve.com rusty

    I think the Jacobs article was a little much, though the comments were amazingly short sighted. The videos are just fine, the REA should be a tough place for the opposition. Holding out an olive branch doesn’t strike me as being a good way to intimidate opponents.

    I am with him for the rest of the stuff though. The fans need a little cleaning up in terms of the chants and stuff, and I think that comes with hockey education. Most long time GF residents are well versed in the game, but some students are new to hockey and just treat the games as party time. Paying customers are paying customers, but there should be an effort on both sides to create knowledgeable fans, which will lead (in my opinion) to better behaved fans. Cheering for elbows to the head and taunting a goalie as a sieve after he allows a goal on the 3rd rebound is bound to give a group a bad name.

  • http://www.hockeybias.com Charlie

    …Nice headline at hockeybias.com: Mamma, Don’t Let Your Cowboys Grow Up To Be Sioux Fans!

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