Behind the Scenes: NCAA Hockey Regionals at Bridgeport
Published: Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 14:03
Teams came from far and wide to play in the NCAA ice hockey regional tournament at Webster Bank Arena, in Bridgeport this past weekend.
I was fortunate enough to work this event last year, so when the time came again to volunteer for the tournament, I made sure I was first on the list. I worked with thea Athletic Communications directors from Fairfield University and Yale University, who were the host schools for the tournament.
My first task of the day on Thursday was to get my credential at the media entrance. After that, I was off to check out the schedule for the day.
Michigan State was the first team to arrive. They practiced from 11:30-12:30. After an intense practice, I, along with the other volunteers, escorted the players to the press conference room to answer a few questions from the media.
Union was the second team to arrive and practiced from 12:45-1:45. I then escorted them to the press conference room. Union had a lot of players that were interviewed. My job was to keep an eye on the players and escort them to each individual reporter.
The third team to arrive was UMass Lowell. They had the same schedule as the first two teams.
The final team to arrive was Miami of Ohio.
After all four teams left, we packed everything up and were ready for tomorrow’s games.
Day two was probably the busiest day. I got there around 12:45, had a quick lunch then got straight to work.
The first game was Union College versus Michigan State at 3:00 p.m., and it was nothing less then an intense game of hockey.
Both teams battled hard, but in the end it was Union who came out on top with a 3-1 victory.
After the game I was assigned to escort all of the Union players and head coach to the press conference room.
Union again had the most players being interviewed, but it made me very busy, which I enjoyed.
The next game was between Miami of Ohio and UMass Lowell at 6:30. This was a very quick turn around from the first game, and most of the media and staff that I talked to wished that the second game was at 7:00 p.m. instead. We all had to deal with it and were able to transition into the second game just fine.
I had a quick bite to eat after escorting the Union players to their press conferences, made sure everything was all set downstairs for the second game, and finally headed up to the press box to catch my breath.
The second game started slow, but the tempo picked up as time expired. UMass Lowell scored three goals between the first and second periods, dominating the game. Things didn’t get exciting until the third period, when Miami of Ohio tied the game 3-3 forcing overtime.
Just like the first game, I was a player escort for the teams after the game, so I had to leave the press box with about five minutes left in the game in order to get down to the locker room in time to grab the players and coaches to take them to their interviews.
Unfortunately, I was assigned to Miami of Ohio for this game, and they lost.
Escorting players and coaches of the loosing team is a lot different then escorting players from the winning team.
As I walked with these players on the path to the press conference room, I could feel their emotional and physical pain. Each and every one of them had their heads down, some even releasing a few tears.
I knew for them it was a rough way to end the hockey game, and their season. The last thing they wanted to do was talk to the media about it, but it had to be done.
After the players and coaches were finished speaking at the press conference, I escorted them back to their locker room and told them to keep their heads held high. Most of them still looked really upset, but I tried to say something to ease the pain.
The rest of the staff and I finished up some last minute things, left the rink, and were ready to watch a great championship game between Union and UMass Lowell the next night.
Saturday was one of the most exciting days of the tournament.
When I arrived at the arena around 3:00 p.m. that afternoon, I was asked to go to the media entrance and sit at the credential table for a bit.
The media headquarters was where all of the media and volunteers had to sign in and pick up their credentials for the games. This was just another important part of working at the tournament.
The first task on the agenda after dinner was to make copies of both team’s line up sheets and distribute them to teams coaches, media, ESPN broadcasters, as well as any scouts that came to watch the game.
During the game I was able to take a break and enjoy watching the teams play, and what a game this was to watch.
Both Union and UMass Lowell had energy from the start, and it continued all the way up until the last minute of the game when the Riverhawks pulled their goalie to try and tie it up.
In the end, it was Union who came out on top with the win, to advance themselves to the Frozen Four. For a team who has never been to the Frozen Four, Union looked like a team who was determined to win the Bridgeport regional and go all the way.