On-Campus Event

Beginner's guide to an RPI hockey game

As hockey novices, we were not sure what to expect from a game as notable as the Big Red Freakout—one of the biggest, if not the biggest, hockey games of the year. Everyone, from alumni to parents to a few professional hockey players attend this game. (Tickets are available online or at the ticket counter in the Houston Field House.) Attending this game equipped us with some experience and knowledge to pass down to anyone who wants to attend a hockey game but doesn’t know how it all works.

What to bring

Students should bring their student ID to scan in, and wallet if they want to purchase snacks, although that can also be done using RAD. Depending on the weather, a jacket might be necessary. We considered the Houston Field House to be quite warm, and found that layers were a nice compromise between the cold outside and the warmth inside.

Here’s what happened at this year’s Freakout

This year, the Rensselaer Engineers played against the University of Vermont’s Catamounts. For a good description of the game itself, read this. The game is live streamed by RPI TV; if radio is more your style, WRPI provides live commentary of each home game. It was a fast-paced, fun match to watch that ended in a very satisfying win for the Engineers. During the second period, we got very involved in the game, heckling the other team from our seats all the way in the back, whooping every time our goalie Owen Savory ’22 made another incredible save, and gasping during fights.

A hockey game has three periods of 20 minutes each, with a 15-minute intermission in between each period. During breaks, the Pep Band played some familiar songs. After the first period, RPI alumni were invited onto the ice during the intermission. After the second period, there was a Honda giveaway, where a member of the Pep Band had a chance to win a car if she managed to shoot a puck into the goal from the red line, which unfortunately didn’t happen. Spectators also had the opportunity to win a prize if their hockey puck landed closest to the center of the rink.

Standard occurrences at an RPI hockey game

  • The RPI Pep Band leads with the Canadian National Anthem, closely followed by a performance of the American National Anthem. Everybody stands up and a spotlight shines on the Canadian and American flags.
  • As far as the chants go, here are some common call and response cheers at RPI:
  • Call: Go white! Response: Go red!
  • Announcer: RPI is back in full strength. Response: That’s right!
  • R-E-N [pause] S-S-E [pause] L-A-E-R *clap**clap**
  • Every time the names of the opposing hockey team are announced, the bass drum pounds and the entire stadium shouts "YOU SUCK!"
  • When penalties are announced on the opposing team, people scream “FOR SUCKING” as the commentator says what the penalty was for.
  • When the time comes for the RPI alma mater, many people put their arms around their friends and sway left to right.

The most important thing to do is just follow what others are doing.


The Big Red Freakout is one of the most fun hockey games to attend if you have never gone before. The energy in the stands is electric, and it is certainly worth the hype. Don’t be worried if you don’t know a thing about hockey, because chances are many don’t either, and it’s pretty easy to follow. Let yourself get caught up in the excitement and cheer for the team along with everyone else. The RPI hockey team only has a few games left with the season ending on February 29. Go to a game, take some photos with your friends, and enjoy the moment!