I've set a goal to have new original content posted on the main page of this site seven days a week, and to accomplish this, I guess I'll have to lead by example and thus, every Wednesday you'll have this column to read...joy for you.
Earlier this year I proposed to the USU Hockey team manager Amanda Forman that this Web site be used to help promote Aggie hockey.
Through ticket giveaways, radio interviews with the players, some pictures, scores, recaps, and other content that is forthcoming, we have started to get the ball rolling on the hockey/Web site relationship.
While working with the public relations people in the hockey program, and getting all of the logistics for this site to be the official news source for the hockey team, I have had the opportunity to discover the passion and time that is invested in the club team by not only the athletes and coaches, but every student who helps run the team.
The athletes on the hockey team to not receive scholarships, they have to pay dues to be on the team, and they have to pay for their own equipment. The coach does his job for free, and the team has to pay high rates to rent the ice sheet to practice on three nights a week.
They are a group who has had nothing given to them except for an opportunity to do something they love, and represent their school against other hockey programs around the Western United States. To me, these men on the ice who have nothing given to them, no scholarships, no dorm rooms, no stipends, no nothing, are a lot easier to respect and cheer for than the varsity athletes at Utah State University.
Do not get me wrong, I enjoy watching and cheering for the varsity athletes at the school, and understand that they have very rigorous schedules and for them to maintain their school work with their practice time is a tremendous task, but I still cannot help consider what all is given to them. For the hockey team, they have to endure all of the rigors of a varsity athlete, while still raising enough money to pay their tuition and buy a new hockey stick.
Sure there are walk-on varsity athletes who have to pay their own way, but they still are able to travel with the team and enjoy free hotel, free travel, free food...The hockey team doesn't have anything given to them, and even the students who work to support the team often have to delve into their own pockets to keep the team afloat.
Yet they are doing more than floating. The Utah State hockey team is a tremendously ran program, that is extremely fan friendly and media friendly. For a fledgling journalist such as myself, the hockey team is much more media friendly to work with than the USU athletic department.
The hockey team will allow a photographer to stand on the team's bench during play to get new, unique photos. The hockey team will coordinate anything the media needs to be successful in covering the team. The hockey team wants media coverage, they want fans...they deserve it all.
So this weekend, Thursday and Saturday, Aggie fans will face a choice on which event to attend. The hockey games, or the basketball games.
While the basketball team will be looking at a sure win against UC Riverside, the hockey team will be facing off against fierce rival BYU. When Cal-State Fullerton comes to town Saturday for the basketball team, the hockey team will be playing Eastern Washington in a game vital to their chances at Nationals.
It is important to support basketball and all Aggie sports, but this weekend, forgo a basketball game for once and check out Aggie hockey. With a team that is 4-0 since Christmas break with victories over BYU, Utah, Washington and Weber, they are making a serious run at an invitation to the national championships.
Go to one of the games this weekend, and at least, give the men that deserve the support, that.