Fans Get Another Chance to Cheer For the Bulldogs
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The ice at Ingalls Rink is normally long-since melted and the building is typically empty at this time of year. But today, more than 1,000 fans were at the Whale to celebrate the Yale men's hockey team's 2013 national championship.
The Bulldogs, who completed their amazing title run with a 4-0 win over Quinnipiac in the Frozen Four Championship Game on Saturday at Pittsburgh, walked out of the home tunnel on a blue carpet leading to center ice with the 30-foot inflatable Bulldog standing at one end of the rink. Each player was introduced by Ingalls Rink PA announcer Mark Ryba.
Ron Vaccaro '04, serving as the MC, introduced a pair of special guests who spoke through a phone connection to Bejing. Yale President Richard Levin and president-elect Peter Salovey congratulated the team over the sound system and reflected on the championship run.
"Now it's official. Yale is the best university, with the best fans, and the best hockey team in the country," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey, standing at the podium placed at center ice.
Yale Athletics Director Tom Beckett spoke before the head coach and mentioned that Allain talked about competing on a national level when he was interviewed just seven years ago. Vaccaro noted that Allain was named Yale head coach seven years ago to the day.
Each of the seniors had a chance to reflect on the season and offer a few words for the crowd.
"We dug deep and battled through all the obstacles in order to succeed," said Bulldog senior forward Josh Balch, whose squad was officially named the No. 1 team in both national polls this afternoon. "When our backs were against the wall, we always moved forward. It was an honor to be part of such an amazing group."
The festivities included the Yale Precision Marching Band, which had a sign that read "Pux Et Veritas," playing Bulldog and forming a "Y" while performing a dance routine.
Yale captain Andrew Miller brought the championship trophy with him on the ice, and the hardware later went to the main level of the rink for fans to take photos with. The long stream of fans waited to get images taken and then have each of the Bulldogs sign a commemorative photo (the on-ice championship celebration shot from Pittsburgh). All of the players, wearing their Blue road jerseys, sat behind a table until every fan had gone through the line.
Yale hockey fans have waited a long time for a season like this, and they were also patient with the process of getting to each Bulldog. Both the fans and players were thrilled no matter how long it took.
filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director