(Or The Skating Monk takes on Semi-Threatening Underrated Cat-Like-Animals)
When I was a Brownie Girl Scout, my troop partook in the Strasenberg Planetarium Sleepover. The name of this program pretty much explains it – roughly 50 Girl Scouts take over the planetarium for an overnight and stay up late watching every show in the planetarium’s rotation. You then get two hours of sleep in the planetarium lobby, where they then wake you up at an ungodly hour by blasting “Here Comes the Sun” and handing you a Wegmans donut and orange juice before forcing you out so they can open for a more profitable event. As you can tell, it was the highlight of the year, especially when your troop eschews camping, like mine did. (We didn’t like getting dirty. Or ticks. Or dampness.)
On a late March Friday evening, I took part in the Great Garden Sleepover Party, or as everyone else knows it as, the Hockey East Semifinals. I was there from 5:15pm – five minutes into the first semifinal game between the University of New Hampshire and Boston College – until the bitter end of the Boston University versus Vermont game – with a final whistle at 1:05am. Such an evening epitomized college hockey for me – spirited, crazy, and a true sports fans dream.
Seeing that I am finally getting around to finishing this post a month and a half after The Giant Garden Sleepover Party happened, I won’t go into too much detail. Whatever could have been said about the outcome has been said, and in hindsight, all of us Hockey East fans should be happy that Boston College showed the Notre Dame’s and Michigan’s of the world that we can play ourselves some college hockey here on the East Coast – should being the operative word. Whether we all are is another topic all together.
But there is one thing I can add to the discussion. One thing that one can never, ever, get tired of talking about.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s the annual Hockey East Mascot Game!!!!
For those not familiar with Hockey East, all of the mascots of Hockey East teams gather and play a scrimmage during the intermission of one of the two semifinal games held at the TD Banknorth Garden the Friday evening of Championship Weekend. I’m impressed that the mascots stuck around for the game, as it was held during the second game of the night, which began after 10pm. Some years, this game is more interesting than the actual semi-final games. This year was not one of those years, but I took photos nonetheless. (Sorry that they’re not better – they’re taken from the cheap seats.)
Most of the Hockey East mascots show up at the Garden for the Semifinal games, regardless of if their teams have made it that far in the playoffs. Case in point – above, we see the Merrimack College Warrior discussing strategy with my personal favorite, the Providence College Friar, aka the Skating Monk. I think they are discussing being Catholic. Or maybe their teams never making it to the Garden. Or maybe, how they can show up all the other mascots. I take the last one.
And they’re off! Vermont’s Catamount and Boston University’s Rhett the Terrier let the three mascots of teams not at the Garden take a breakaway. Joining the Skating Monk and Warrior is the UMass Lowell RiverHawk. Who knew a RiverHawk was cardinal red and blue? I thought they were kind of a drabby gray, like a pigeon. That’s it – they should be the UMass Lowell Pigeons! They’re annoying and you can’t get rid of them easily – just like how the Terriers feel when they play them in the Hockey East quarterfinals!
Let me digress here for a second to discuss the existance of the Catamount. Now, I probably am wrong, but I believe that a catamount and a bearcat are the same thing. That being said, shouldn’t it be that a bearcat looks more like a bear, and a catamount more like a cat? Now, examine the Vermont Catamount in comparison to the Binghamton Bearcat (gosh, I wish they would field a men’s hockey team and join Hockey East. Please?!? Screw the law school plan and build an ice rink!!!)
Which one looks more like a bear, and who looks more like a cat? When you see Rally the Catamount in person, he definitely looks more like a bear. You can’t fully appreciate the bear ears in the photo. Baxter the Bearcat looks more like a…umm…mix between a cat and a bear? But at the end of the day, what is the difference? They both are supposed to be underrated vicious cats, that won’t maim you like a lion or tiger, but will give you more than a superficial scratch. Back to our regularly scheduled blog.
I believe the traffic jam at the net was being caused by Rhett the Terrier, who had the puck to the right bottom corner of the photo. Notice how depressed the Maine Black Bear looks. Is he even paying attention? I know it was hard for Maine this year, but they have to keep their chin up. They might contend again next year, and if not then, the year after that. Come on, it’s Maine – there is enough Quebecois there to stack any hockey team at any level.
We have Rhett taunting the crowd and/or Wiley E. Cat, the University of New Hampshire Wildcat. “Bring it!” Rhett is ordering. Rhett seems to forget that’s Wiley’s it has already been brought, and crushed in a 3 overtime loss to Boston College. Luckily for Wiley, most of the action occurred at the other end of the ice – he could be depressed without having to pay attention to playing goalie.
Next year, I swear I am going to get near the ice to take better photos. Anytime you have a Monk playing hockey with a Spartan Warrior and a Wildcat, Catamount and Pigeon – I mean RiverHawk – there is a good time to be had.
Wait — isn’t a Wildcat the same thing as a Catamount and a Bearcat? It is! Oh, America East schools and your lack of mascot originality.