Hockey line captures student pride at Rensselaer

Annual event celebrates the best of RPI in anticipation of the hockey season

MEMBERS OF THE RENSSELAER PEP BAND LEAD a crowd of students and athletes in celebration of the upcoming hockey season.

Monday afternoon, a crowd of students gathered by the patio of the Union in order to celebrate the conclusion of a week of activities related to Hockey Line. Hockey Line is the annual tradition where groups line up outside the Union in order to be the first to buy season tickets to men’s hockey games. Groups in the line included the Red Army, Lambda Chi Alpha, Delta Phi, Sigma Chi, and Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

Grand Marshal Paul Ilori ’17 and President of the Union Chip Kirchner ’17 were there leading the celebration. In addition to the line, the men’s and women’s hockey teams, Pep Band, UPAC Sound, Juggling Club, and RPIgnite were performing to entertain the crowd. UPAC Sound played music and background, and Pep Band and RPIgnite took turns performing their own pieces.

By 6 pm, people gathered by the Department of Public Safety building in order to march up to the Houston Field House. Pep Band led the crowd up through Freshman Hill while playing a hockey game classic “Call Me Al.” Public Safety cars blocked parts of Burdett Avenue so that people could safely cross the street. Once everyone made it up to the Field House, the Pep Band performed RPI’s Alma Mater and everyone joined in on singing it.

Their reward awaited them in the Houston Field House: hockey season tickets. To celebrate the beginning of ticket sales, there were various fun activities and freebies. Everyone was treated to a meal of pizza and ice cream, and there was a balloon artist and a caricature artist available for entertainment.

The hockey players were helpful and involved with the community as they guided people through the open skate, with free rental skates, and others who chose to take locker room tours. They took participants who didn’t know how to skate and supported them as they circled the rink—and even if the hockey players weren’t professionally trained tour guides (they didn’t have much to say), the locker rooms and lounge were surprisingly nice to look at.

In all, the event participants had well-deserved fun and relaxation after literal days of waiting. Hockey Line began on Tuesday, September 6 at 8 am and ended on Monday, September 12 at 8 pm. The tradition originates from the 70s, when hockey culture was more popular at RPI, due to the architecture of the Field House. There used to be multiple steelbeams blocking the audience’s view of the rink; as a result, seating was very competitive, so the Rensselaer community would line up through the Union to get prime seating. Those days are long gone, but each group still has to have a representative member in line from 8 am–8 pm, keeping the longstanding tradition alive.