Heading to the final stretches of the hockey season, there is a certain buzz around campus about one of the most cherished traditions in college hockey: Big Red Freakout! The annual game will be heading into its 33rd season, with the Rensselaer Engineers taking on the Princeton University Tigers. For hockey freshman Marty O’Grady, it’s not a game to be taken lightly. “All I have heard about Freakout! coming to school is that [it] is one of the best games to play in all year,” said the rookie.
O’Grady has made his impact felt through the entire season, being one of few players to skate in all 32 games for the Engineers thus far. In his freshman campaign, O’Grady has notched eight goals and seven assists for 15 points, and is currently seventh on the team in scoring.
“Honestly, hearing the hype about the crowd we will get is very exciting to me and I can’t wait to play the game,” said O’Grady. “I think if the crowd is as big as they say it is then it will help intensify both teams to make a better game.”
In the past several seasons, Freakout! has been a sellout, insuring the crowds will be decked out in red and rowdy as usual. “The only thing I have heard from [the upperclassmen] is that the crowd is amazing and the atmosphere is crazy. One of the most fun games to play in.” A crazy atmosphere doesn’t even begin to describe the vibes in the air at the Houston Field House. It was the 1987 game against Brown University in which the infamous “RPI Rule” was implemented in the NCAA, which prohibits artificial noisemakers from being used during a game. Needless to say, it is the one day where all of campus comes out to cheer their favorite team.
O’Grady hopes that Freakout! will be another tradition he will get to participate in all four years of his collegiate career. Right now, O’Grady lists “my playing D-I college hockey and being accepted into a new family of great guys,” as his favorite aspects of hockey at RPI, but Big Red Freakout! will surely find its way on that list.