Where Angels Fear to Tread last season explained to newly minted Cornellians why hockey became Cornell University. This season, this contributor tells this year's group of newcomers why hockey will become them.
First-year students will become quite familiar with the trek from North Campus over the splendor of Fall Creek to the academic halls of their new University mirroring the way that Cornell University's first students wore the untrodden path bridging Cascadilla. Cornellians vanquish not only physical divisions. Societal boundaries are their conquered as well. Our University erected bridges across the divisions of race, gender, and class. It was not the mind of an architect that gave Cornell University its greatest bypass of these daunting separations.
Hockey is the bridge that unites Cornellians across expanses of academic division, geography, time, race, gender, and class. Its first commuters christened these foundations 120 years ago. Those foundations tested and worn have proven durable. Hockey is the great unifier of Cornell University.
Wait. Hockey is what unites Cornellians? Trust me, first-year students, after the baptism by fire that will be your first few weeks at your new home, other terms likely will dominate your thoughts of what galvanizes our sprawling community as a whole. Some of those words will not be suitable for print here.
So, let’s go with “commiseration;” commiseration from mutual endurance of the most rigorous university in the world. To where will you turn for group therapy (not the kind formerly offered at Dunbars)? Lynah Rink. The primal outbursts that will overcome you on the Fridays and Saturdays of Winter are the perfect coping mechanism for those climbs up a 40-degree incline in 30-degree weather to earn a 20% on a prelim (have not heard that yet? You will.).
Cornell hockey’s value to students is beyond cathartic recovery. The relationships that you form standing on the lacquered planks of Lynah Rink will sustain you for a lifetime. Bonds of friendship and love will be forged there. Supporting the carnelian and white is an efficient catalyst, whether you are a legacy or first-generation Cornellian, to connect with loved ones and family members. This writer speaks from personal experience.
Road trips are the bellows that keep the smelting iron hot for these lasting bonds. Soon-to-be-initiated Lynah Faithful, do not allow prejudices of geography not to exploit the ripe excuse that Cornell hockey provides to explore New York. Cornell University is the land-grant university of the entire state. If you need a reminder, merely glance at the University’s crest. New students should explore what New York offers.
Upstaters, use Cornell hockey during your four years to become familiar with Manhattan. Cornellians dominate Thanksgiving Weekend in New York City during the Frozen Apple and Red Hot Hockey. First-year students from Upstate should rendezvous with their Downstate brethren to experience Downstate.
Downstaters, use Cornell hockey as a means of familiarizing yourself with the corners of Upstate with which you are unacquainted. The footprint of ECAC Hockey provides ample excuses. This writer recommends that your Upstate friends and you make the trek to St. Lawrence University to see its gorgeous campus and a gem of college hockey that certainly will impress in Appleton Arena.
New students who do not hail from the Empire State are best situated to use Cornell hockey as a vehicle to coax their exploration of the State to which their future alma mater is dedicated in service.
Your road trips need not be limited to the fulcrum of the Northeast. Coach Schafer and his squad open the season at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts on October 28. A six-hour drive separates Ithaca and North Andover. It would be time well spent. Strictly speaking, however, a Friday game six hours away from campus is probably impractical. You must consider immediately the following weekend.
Cornell travels to Massachusetts in consecutive weekends. Do not miss your chance to experience the Cornell-Harvard rivalry (ever heard of it?) this early in your time at Cornell University. Experience Lynah East as early and as often as you can. The history, antics, and passion of the rivalry are second to none in any sport.
Cornell-Harvard tickets at Lynah East are difficult to obtain. Any new students who hope to attend The Game in Cambridge this season should follow Where Angels Fear to Tread on twitter as our contributors will keep you apprised of when to purchase tickets in avoidance of Harvard Athletics’s chicanery.
Now that you are considering road trips with new lifelong friends and purchasing tickets at away venues, this contributor assumes that you will purchase season tickets if you are able. Student season tickets for the 2016-17 season cost $199.00. For some first-year students, the cost may be prohibitively expense. Demands on your time will prevent your attending every game. Rather than allow your heckler’s perch on the bleachers to remain vacant, give your ticket to a game that you cannot attend to a student who could not afford season tickets. That student will rain down on the Red’s opponent with the zeal of a new convert. Cornell hockey will appreciate your doing the Cornellian thing in removing the obstacles of class from enjoyment of our University’s rarified air.
The lows and highs of each period, each game, and each season will come to have personal meaning to you and immortalize in your mind where you were at those moments in your life on The Hill. They will relate you to generations of alumni who watch the same moments when their days of study have begun to become faded memories. Think that is overstated?
The contributors of Where Angels Fear to Tread can dispense with your doubts in one anecdote. Last season, Cornell took eventual national runner-up Quinnipiac to the brink in the 2016 ECAC Hockey Quarterfinal. The Red took the second game of the series in commanding form. Hamden was Ithaca for an evening.
Generations of alumni who abandoned their initial garb from the first game and turned to the comfort clothing of the sweaters of their preferred players when Cornell won championships while they were students exchanged stories of their professions, lives, and, of course, Cornell hockey. As a united front after a tremendous 5-4 victory, we retrieved from the box office tickets for the series’s third game. Cornellians from the Classes of the 1960s through the 2010s were a community united, not just in awe of one of the Big Red’s most exhilarating offensive playoff performances in decades, but in purpose. Hockey is an intergenerational network for Cornellians.
Hopefully, new students, your time will give you the same reason during the playoffs to reach anxiously for those threads that commemorate a great who brought an ECAC Hockey Championship trophy, Whitelaw Cup, or national championship trophy to East Hill. If you want an authentic, game-worn sweater (this is just as much a part of a Cornellian’s vernacular as is “prelim”), reach out to upperclassmen or alumni (our writers are here to help) to learn the sometimes long process to getting a genuine carnelian-and-white sweater.
Your sweater does more than identify you to other members of the Faithful as deserving of that name. The name and number on your sweater becomes a reflection of values. Are you a booster of a forward, defenseman, or goaltender, or do you choose to wear one from an NHLer, role player, or a walk-on? More obviously, it informs other alumni more evocatively than any class button ever can which time was your time at Cornell University.
The hockey played on East Hill defines in great detail our era at our University. Your first year will be the 100th season that Cornell University is represented on the ice of intercollegiate competition. Where Angels Fear to Tread is in the midst of a countdown of The Centenary Team. The 100 greatest players to have had the honor of wearing carnelian and white constitute that team.
Cornellians like to disagree if you have not learned already. Considerable, sometimes heated, debate surrounds the composition of this expanding list. It is this passion that unites us. Cornellians care so much about their hockey team, University, and alumni. It is our virtu. You are now part of it. Take ownership of your era.
Andrew Dickson White famously told the earliest Cornellians that they came to Central New York not to be made, but to make themselves. Newly minted Cornellians need to heed this advice from the classroom to the dorm room, and from the safe haven of our University to the real world that exists outside. White’s guidance applies equally to your role as members of the Lynah Faithful.
You should graft your tastes and sensibilities onto the identity of the Faithful as cohorts have before you. You must respect the ritual and traditions of the University and Lynah Faithful. This should not chill your additions to richness of Cornell hockey. You want to add a chant, perhaps an “abolitionism”/“slavery” to taunt the Elis of Yale when they visit and remind them on which side of history our respective universities have fallen, dare to try it. Cornellians are unabashed in reminding others that in hockey as in our lives, we bridge the arbitrary and often unjust gorges of time, geography, race, gender, and class.
You are Cornellians now. You must be bold. This is your home, welcome.