So everybody just follow me
'Cause we need a little controversy
'Cause it feels so empty without me
The first pre-season in a half-decade passes without a countdown to the impending seasons from Where Angels Fear to Tread. This is a product of neither neglect nor oversight. It is our contributors’s design.
Last season was the last season of Where Angels Fear to Tread. Our contributors plotted this course before even the first puck-drop of the 2015-16 season. The 2016-17 season was magical and fitting for our last in all the moments that it gave the Lynah Faithful and us.
That season perfectly aligned with the 60th anniversary of Lynah Rink, 45th anniversary of modern women’s hockey at Cornell University, and the 100th team to represent Cornell University in intercollegiate hockey as last season’s 100-day countdown reminded the Faithful. It also was our fifth year covering our beloved program. This writer with a proclivity for moments accepted the fate of this vivid symbol.
This contributor brings fingertips to keyboard to sign off on his role in this enterprise. Where Angels Fear to Tread always aspired to give historical, institutional, and human context to the stories that it told. The context of the story of Where Angels Fear to Tread is your captive.
This piece is not to offer a subjective gloss of that tale, but instead to offer to our readers a sense of place in the role that being Where Angels Fear to Tread has played in our life for half of a decade.
The germ of what became Where Angels Fear to Tread began in a graduate-school dorm room hundreds of miles removed from Lynah Rink with two recent alumni huddled around a laptop trained on the digital broadcast (for those wondering, it was an away game, so it was not Redcast) of the Red’s conference opener. The connection was immediate.
Neither founder realized an idea nestled in the recesses of their subconsciouses during an exhilarated Spring walk after Cornell upset Michigan in the 2012 Frozen Four First Round would impel them to create a distinct platform for the Lynah Faithful and Cornellians with a dollop of encouragement from Dan Greene of Union Hockey Blog.
Two alumni who could not afford season tickets during most of their tenures on East Hill aimed to give Cornell hockey, its supporters, its coaches, and its student-athletes a voice in college hockey befitting their alma mater. Where Angels Fear to Tread would never duplicate the already impressive digital resources and presence of fellow alumni who cover the program. Where Angels Fear to Tread launched in the Summer of 2012.
The community of ECAC Hockey immediately welcomed our team on social media. This writer is very grateful for this conference’s warm and, in admittedly many ways, premature acceptance. He never will forget it. Ken Schott, the titan of ECAC Hockey, was one of the earliest adopters and backers of Where Angels Fear to Tread.
It was not long until ECAC Hockey’s best broadcaster, John McGraw, joined the league’s august beat reporter. The early adoption of members of the Lynah Faithful like that of Mark Anbinder, Craig Buckser, and Rich Shapiro among others will remain equally memorable and humbling. The most surprising embrace came just weeks later.
The teams of Cornell hockey welcomed the presence and support of Where Angels Fear to Tread on its various platforms. John Esposito ’13 noticed our contributors’s annual tradition of counting down the days until a season using roster numbers during its inaugural edition. Nick D’Agostino ’13 provided an outright endorsement. Kirill Gotovets ’14 and Greg Miller ’13 wielded our first coined hashtag (#JT3, “journey to three”).
Then, organically, a pregame ritual was born between our founding writers and none other than Lekika née The Cat Lady herself. That routine endured the entirety of the career of Jess Brown ’16. These mutually supportive interactions with players gave Where Angels Fear to Tread a sense of purpose during times that admittedly were among the most difficult in this writer’s life. A passion and community became welcome distractions. This writer will carry these memories with him the longest.
Followers grew to include players, recruits, and their families. Where Angels Fear to Tread resolved to represent the Lynah Faithful and Cornell University in ways that brought honor to great programs with rich traditions and alumni of the world’s greatest university. This contributor at times fell short of this goal. He hopes that he has rebounded resoundingly when he has fallen short of lofty ambitions as is Cornellian and as he strives in life.
The follows of coaches soon ensued. The pursuit of Cornell hockey carried the contributors of Where Angels Fear to Tread to places as unexpected as USHL games in Youngstown and season openers at Boston College, Niagara University, and Merrimack College. The contributors in their five years went an overachieving 13 for 12 of the home rinks of ECAC Hockey (thanks, Riggs Rink). They beat longtime friend of Where Angels Fear to Tread Josh Seguin of College Hockey News in accomplishing this feat. The writers attended five Frozen Fours during their run.
Coach Schafer’s record-setting Eastern title and the Red’s 13th Whitelaw Cup eluded the carnelian and white during the five years of Where Angels Fear to Tread. Nevertheless, the teams that Where Angels Fear to Tread covered blessed its contributors and the Lynah Faithful with six championships in five seemingly short seasons. Post-season runs over that time included three timeless championship grudge matches between Cornell and Harvard.
On a personal note, this contributor hallows 19 games in his memory as jealously as one does those contests witnessed as a student. Preeminent among those contests are the road sweep of Quinnipiac and Princeton in February 2014, playoff victories over Harvard and Clarkson in March 2014, and the post-season dismantling of Quinnipiac on March 12, 2016. Sports have an unparalleled capacity to reveal character, provide perspective, and motivate faith in oneself or others. Those games gave this author the moments that he needed in trying times.
I am grateful forever.
As designedly ominous as the moniker was, Where Angels Fear to Tread shored faith and brought its contributors closer to friends and family through the power of the Lynah Faithful during its half-decade life. This writer knows that those relationships created and improved will not disappear even though the time for Where Angels Fear to Tread has passed. The all-consuming passion of the Faithful galvanizes these relationships against oxidation.
This relationship with the Lynah Faithful in this capacity ends now. This contributor commends unto the able hands and minds of the Faithful’s next generation including Kevin Linsey of both The Cornell Daily Sun and Big Red Pep Band among others the task of making this era their own.
Do what you wish to the incanting tempo of “let’s go Red.” Introduce new music, taunts, and chants. Malign our University’s Crimson nemesis in innovative and contemporary ways. It deserves such. Be conservatively irreverent and unorthodoxly traditional. It is an imperative as Cornellians that you revolutionize.
A piece of advice thankfully stayed with the founders of Where Angels Fear to Tread over the years. Kyle Rossi, formerly of Thank You Terry, instructed them that it is important to do what you enjoy in time and content to avoid becoming beholden to the opinions of readers or followers. Things of this nature are labors of love.
Some likely underappreciate the time and, most shockingly, emotion invested in maintaining enterprises like Where Angels Fear to Tread. At times, our writers bared their souls for you over five years. They like you love Cornell hockey violently. Their passion for Cornell University is indescribable. They always heeded that advice.
The goal of Where Angels Fear to Tread was to provide value added from the innumerable other sources that cover Cornell hockey. Where Angels Fear to Tread was a concoction equal parts entertainment and information. The contributors hoped that the dramatis persona that they assumed when behind the keys of a computer or screen of a smartphone entertained you for the last five years. One might have said that the personality of Where Angels Fear to Tread was the aggregate personality of all of the contributors at any given time turned up to ten.
The legacy of Where Angels Fear to Tread is yours to pen. This founder hopes that what people remember of Where Angels Fear to Tread is its dedication to telling past and present stories of Cornell hockey devoid of external superficiality. One appreciates the value of careers of Red skaters and goaltenders in their sacrifices and achievements for Cornell University while on East Hill. One must never place the fate of a team on a student-athlete who toils in the throes of our alma mater’s rigor. True Faithful value character over results.
The particulars that I hope followers and readers can recall are the adversity that the 1969-70 team overcame, the playoff indomitability from 1976 through 1982 of the Lady Rouge, and the greatness in the 1910-11 team for the service of its members to our University and the United States.
We must not forget the Red’s first attainment of perfection. The character of Cornell hockey and Cornellians was great long before Lynah Rink. "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants,” including those of Mark Anbinder, Greg Berge, Jim Hyla, Adriano Manocchia, and Adam Wodon among others.
The drive back from Lake Placid with family was a formative experience this year. The lives of the founders of Where Angels Fear to Tread have changed drastically from the early Winter about six years ago. This entire endeavor created a singularity in the creators’s lives. Experiences occurred among the Faithful that are incomprehensible to the contributors of Where Angels Fear to Tread.
Seven cities were the home of the contributors of Where Angels Fear to Tread over the last five years. The founders earned two professional degrees. One confronted and overcame the rigors of professional licensure. The other began a program for a more advanced degree. Careers began. Countless changes in appearance and lifestyle passed. They made a home. The constant across life’s turbulence was Where Angels Fear to Tread, Cornell hockey, and you.
Our contributors still will attend games. Their number likely will be fewer now. Lake Placid remains a family destination in foreseeable perpetuity. It is a magical place. The writers’s passion for Cornell hockey if anything has grown since the launch of Where Angels Fear to Tread. They can experience games now without a smartphone’s assistance. You will see us at the rink.
This writer paid homage to a style now past in this piece’s opening. The words of the great laureate Marshall Mathers reflect what the persona of Where Angels Fear to Tread may say under these circumstances. This contributor shares now true sentiments. He humbly expresses gratitude. This entire experience was our privilege.
The reimagining of Without a Peer last season and the more recent departure of Ken Schott from the fold certainly dwarf any emptiness felt in college hockey or ECAC Hockey with the absence of Where Angels Fear to Tread. This writer must thank you nonetheless. Thank you for allowing us the fleeting illusion that we truly mattered to the best conference, greatest program, exemplar players, and most zealous fans in college hockey. We never will forget it.