by Lindsey Floyd
Supporting the University of Northwestern – St. Paul’s hockey team has quickly become a fan-favorite Friday night activity among students.
Freshman Aaron Krahn joined the team this year after hearing about his dad’s fun experiences being on the hockey team when he was a student. He said, “At no other sporting event can you watch from behind a sheet of glass while players slam each other against the boards. It also makes a huge difference in the level we play at when there are 400 students chanting, ‘U-N-Dubs!’”
Hockey is actually a club on campus, with about seventeen men on the team. They do not have consistent weekly games, but they have played five games so far this year. For example, they have played at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, the Oval in Roseville and at St. Olaf. The team plays other schools just like any official sport on campus does.
While Junior Ryan Sutterer’s passion is baseball, he likes the change of pace hockey brings, and he got started playing hockey at UNW as a freshman. “It’s a good time, especially playing Bethel and getting fans there because they enjoy it just as much as we do. This year we didn’t win very much and didn’t get much ice time, but we still held our own. I think we put on a good show for students, which is important,” said Sutterer.
The budget is very limited for the team, so players raise support to rent ice rinks in the area. Outside donors and fundraisers allow for the team to get practice in. Limited practice time makes the season more difficult, but the players thrive on the fan support more than they do winning.
Krahn said, “My favorite part of UNW hockey is that, as a team, we stand for something different. It gets pretty chippy on the ice, but we always have the name on the front of our jerseys to remind us that, as followers of Christ, we are called to live differently. I just really enjoy the chance to keep playing hockey.”
Junior Emily Geurkink has loved going to watch UNW hockey games the past couple years. She said, “I really like the atmosphere, especially the rivalry between Northwestern and Bethel. It’s really cool when the student body can come together at athletic events.”