Friday, February 6, 2009

The WCHA's drinking problem

Here are Minnesota coach Don Lucia's comments this week about his team's various rivalries, specifically those teams that play in arenas that serve alcohol. I'm what, if anything, happened last weekend in Mankato, but it is interesting that he said he talked to the WCHA about the issue on Monday. Thanks to Roman Augustoviz's blog for the quotes.
“Some of the others ones, and I won’t mention names or anything like that, are a little bit more ugly as far as fan treatment and everything else,” Lucia said. “I never felt that way with Wisconsin. Our games have been much more disciplined over the years than maybe years ago.

“I never felt when I go to Kohl Center – I think the fans react in a real positive manner. Ya, once in a while, when you come off the ice, you get a little [grief] from a student. But that’s OK. That’s all fun. But I never felt when I go there, it is over the top and that’s me as a college coach. I have no issue with fans cheering their team and getting involved. I don’t particularly like the vulgarity. ‘F the Gopher’ chant that we hear.

“And I think, to be honest, and I spoke [Monday] about it [to WCHA officials]. I’m probably being more candid, maybe it is the steroids I took this morning than normal. I think as a league – my own personal opinion is, I am not sure if alcohol is served at some of the venues is a real positive in our league.

(Lucia is taking weekly IV steriod treatments for a nerve problem which causes numbness on the left side of his face.)

“I am a purist,” Lucia said. “I don’t have an issue if it is served in club rooms or in suites or in a beer garden. But I have an issue and, I think it lends to problems, when you got guys sitting with beer after beer sitting right behind the visitors’ bench. Nothing good can happen.

“And we have venues that you can literally sit and have cocktails all game long whether it’s hard booze, wine or beer. I think that is where some of the ugliness gets. As a league, I think we have to take a look at that.”

Minnesota plays Wisconsin this weekend.

So what do you think of this? Is alcohol a problem at the Alltel Center? Is it a problem in the WCHA and college hockey? Are visiting teams and their coaches more vulnerable to taunting or worse behavior at a place like Mankato, where they serve drinks, than, say, St. Cloud, where they don't? What would the Alltel Center be like if alcohol wasn't available during MSU games? What say you?


LetsGoMavs said...

I've been to 7 out of the 10 WCHA arenas (making it 8 next weekend), and I would say that alcohol doesn't make a difference. I think the number of students/young people who attend the games do. Let's face it, younger people are more likely to drink more and yell at hockey games.

When you have an arena like Mariucci that's mostly older people, corporate seats, and limited student seating it makes for a much more quiet (i.e. dull) atmosphere. Then you take places like the NHC (which doesn't serve alcohol) and it's a mixture of ages in the crowd, and you get more yelling, inappropriate chants, and people drinking before the games and sneaking alcohol in.

I think it's also the dynamic of the fans, since when I was at World Arena (CC) the fans were a mixture but more quiet and that arena sells alcohol.

As for Duluth...well, it all really depends on how there team is doing as to attendance and how the fans are.

I think anyone who's been to multiple arenas can pretty much agree with my observations. Really, it depends on the FAN BASE and not if alcohol is served or not.

Also, why can't Lucia just be a professional and say "Good job Mavericks, you smoked us last weekend!" and leave it at that?!? He's looking for excuses for everything. Personally, I think his focus is blurred right now because he's mad about his son's injury. He's taking it more personal it seems. It's not personal, it's business. Cripes!

David said...

Getting your butt handed to you will make you take it personal, turn the tables on this...if the Gophs did this to us would we be as gracious in defeat?

As to the alcohol issue...Yes I think it is a problem with the student section and some of the other mental midgets who attend the games at the Alltel Center. I drink a couple of beers at games there so I do enjoy the fact that is available, but some people have NO self control.

On Friday night I saw the beer being thrown from the Gopher fan area, but last fall when North Dakota was in town the entire student section threw beer bottles out on the ice. My own 4 year old son handed me an empty bottle and told me to throw it because everyone else was...that is not the image I want my son to see as a fan of hockey.

I don't think alcohol enhances the fan experience what so ever, I realize that the Allel Center is a seperate entity from MSU but one or the other needs to step and eliminate alcohol sales at these college events.

That's my two cents

LetsGoMavs said...

David- I can respect your opinion but honestly, if it's not beer bottles it's something else. It's not uncommon to see pop bottles, batteries, dead animals,glow sticks, paper airplanes, etc. thrown on the ice at arenas that don't serve alcohol. Not that it's right, but college kids are just that, college kids. They yell swear words, throw stuff, and get drunk before and during games (even if it's a "dry" arena).

Many actions by fans make all sporting events not family friendly. This is when the parents need to step up to the plate and educate their kids about why the people acting inappropriately are wrong. I know this is not fun, as I've had to do it many times myself. However, situations like that is where kids can learn right from wrong.

I don't know that much can be done to change how the students are. A few years back SCSU broke up the dog pound into a few spots and limited the seating and it hasn't made a difference at the NHC. I've gone there for 8 years now with them trying to "control their students" and I haven't seen a change year to year.

Really, the only reason that Mariucci and the Kohl have more control is because of the older fan base that hold the season tickets and more corporate tickets. Like it or not, the Alltel and Maverick Program are years and years away from that.

Joe said...

Lucia is an ass. i guess he has blocked out his tenure at cc. i live in the springs and when cc is playing du there is nothing rated G that comes out of the student sections.

i did not see the weekend series but the description of the Schack hit sounds like nothing more than a cheap shot. instead of whining about losing maybe he should hand out a stiffer suspension like the Mich St coach did a couple of weeks back.

as for the bottles thrown on the ice...there is no place in the game for that and the offenders should be escorted out.

LetsGoMavs said...

I agree, there's no excuse for throwing things on the ice and people should be escorted out. I didn't mean to make it sound like I supported it. I was just pointing out that it happens everywhere, even if alcohol isn't served.

Now I'm going to talk out the other side of my mouth though and say the exception to the rule should be hats on a hat trick. I think that's ok. No brooms after a sweep though since they can injure people.


Let's watch the language on here, folks (I know it's 2009, but I mean the 'A' word, too.). I'd like to keep the comments section as open and available as possible. Thanks.

P.S. I think language is especially relevant to this discussion.

Dan Myers said...

He's just calling Lucia a donkey, Freddy...

David said...

I agree that for the Alltel Center and MSU to control behavior would make for a Nazi no fun atmosphere. I wouldn't attend that game. At that ND game when my son handed me the beer bottle I did explain to him later why I didn't throw it and why it isn't right to do it. Believe me I wanted to jump the glass and hits those hacks myself but I can show restraint as a fan.

Admittedly, I like a lively atmosphere at a game. Places where corpies and fogies have more tickets make it boring. Back to the question at hand though, I don't think the WCHA or the Alltel Center has a drinking problem. Though I think its days being sold at college events at public facilities will come to an end someday.

mavfan1 said...

I saw two different Gopher fans throw beer bottles on the ice. (So there goes his argument) I also saw a full bottle of beer go on the ice, which must have belonged to a Gopher fan because no Mav fan would be that stupid. There was also a Coke bottle so no more Coke. What Don is saying is that the fans in Mankato are not what they used to be and the only way that his baby Yankee (The MLB version of the Gophers) players can win in Kato is if it can go back to the old days. Sorry Don the Alltel center and the city are sitting on a gold mind. If you can't handle the Alltel center stay home sick. M-I-N-N-E-S-O-T-A STATE!!!!!! SWEEP, SWEEP, SWEEP

mavfan1 said...

One more thing I'm working on a new chant for our friend Don. This will be similar to the students section chant for a ref with the last name Shepard.

Which goes like this," Shepard needs a sheep, Shepard needs a sheep," so he stops _________ us

Sorry to take his one from the students but I laugh every time I hear it.