The adventure begins at 4:15 a.m. on Tuesday morning. As my alarm blares from across the room, I wonder why in the world I am waking up before the sun is out. Then I remember: UNH/UMaine hockey tickets!
My roommates and I sleepily make our way from the Gables over to the Whittemore Center box office to wait in line. Tickets to the much-anticipated UNH/UMaine game are always in high demand, and although the line is not as long as I’ve seen in previous years, we don’t want to take any chances. Two hours later, we collect our tickets and climb back into bed before the first day of classes begins…
That Friday afternoon, the waiting begins again. We arrive at the Whitt at 5:30, surprised to see a hoard of UNH students already waiting inside. It’s great to see the crowd decked out in white UNH gear for the “White Out the Whitt” tradition. White Out the Whitt means that UNH fans all wear white in order to show their school spirit and create a “white out” effect!
Once we’re finally able to enter the stadium, the scramble for student seats begins. We’re ecstatic to find white thunder sticks on our seats once we’re settled, and for the entirety of the game I beat the two sticks together to help create the thunder effect. As the stadium fills up I can feel the excited energy of the fans. And, with the chilling entrance of Gnarlz, the wildcat mascot, onto the ice with his regular musical accompaniment, I know I’m in for an exciting night. Of course, before the game can begin we hear the classic national anthem sung by “the Rev,” a local reverend with a deep voice, a reputation amongst the UNH fans, and his own personalized UNH jersey.
After the first face-off occurs the student section is alive with thunder sticks, chants, and clapping. The spirited “let’s go cats!” and “U-N-H” cheers are also followed by some more derisive ones, such as “sieve! sieve! sieve!” when the UMaine goalie takes the ice. Each exciting play is followed by plenty of screaming from the UNH fans, and the school spirit behind the team is amazing. After the first UNH goal – 47 seconds into the first period – the crowd is roaring with enthusiasm.
As the first and second periods are concluded with close scores, I am attentively watching each play in the third to see how the game will turn out. With about a minute and a half left, Maine scores another goal to make the score 3-2 UNH. I watch with baited breath as the UNH defense holds Maine off to take the win. The crowd goes wild and I am truly proud to be a Wildcat! And, once the game is concluded, I conveniently walk across the lobby to chow down on some delicious IHOP pancakes at another great UNH event – Campus Recreation’s Midnight Mania. The fun never ends!