University of New Hampshire Prepares for the Frozen Four

The plane is full, the fans are ready, and UNH plans for safe festivities

By Kim Billings
UNH News Bureau

March 27, 2002

DURHAM, N.H. -- Excitement at the University of New Hampshire is building as the campus prepares to send its men's hockey team to the NCAA Frozen Four play-offs in Minnesota next week.

While big-screen televisions are being set up in the Memorial Union Building and plans being made for a campus bonfire, athletics staff arranged for a Boeing 737 charter to fly 128 fans from Pease to St. Paul on Wednesday, returning to Pease following Saturday night's game. The package, which included airfare, hotel accommodations and tickets to the game, sold out within hours, says Mark LaBarbera, senior associate director of athletics.

According to student affairs officials, there will be a send-off celebration and pep rally for the team on Tuesday, April 2, at 1:20 p.m. near the UNH Dairy Bar, and a welcome home parade and celebration for the team on Monday night, April 8. Both events are open to the public.

UNH plays against Maine Thursday afternoon, followed by the final play-off game Saturday night, April 6. An all campus celebration, complete with a sanctioned bonfire, is planned for April 6, on the Thompson Hall lawn near Demeritt Hall following the game, win or lose.

"All students are encouraged to participate in this celebration," says Anne Lawing, senior assistant vice president of student affairs at UNH. "However, we will not tolerate any property destruction or conduct that endangers others."

Lawing adds there will be many places to watch the games on campus both dates. The Food Court, Theater II and television lounge in the Memorial Union Building will host the games, as well as at the Hamel Recreation Center lounge. There also will be MUB Food Court specials offered.

The Hamel Recreation Center will remain open until midnight on Thursday, April 4, and until 2 a.m. on Sunday, April 7. The MUB will remain open each night until midnight.

Because of post-game celebrations in the past, Lawing says there will be increased police presence following both games next week. "University and Durham Police, along with UNH student affairs staff, will be present in town and around campus during and after the games," according to Lawing. "People engaged in destructive or dangerous behavior will face criminal and/or judicial charges and police will disperse crowds if they judge crowds to pose any danger."

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