During my years on the campus, I was an avid Bowling Green Falcon hockey fan.
- I stood outside the arena doors for an hour in the cold BG wind waiting for the doors to open to get my preferred seat.
- I didn’t miss many home games as a student, and sat (most of the time) in the same general admission seat – along a rail above a stairway at center ice on the east side for most of the games over five years. (Observable below).
- After seated, I played crazy 8s with friends since gametime was still an hour away.
- I saw the early wave of the 34 Falcons who played in the NHL, and others made the U.S. Olympic team.
- I saw coach Ron Mason on his way to becoming the most-winning coach in NCAA hockey history.
- I saw many great games, including numerous exciting moments that shook the arena. (The close aluminum ceiling had the place roar.)
Although I wasn’t a student when the Falcons won the 1984 National Championship on Gino Cavallini’s fourth-overtime goal, my heart was there and tuned into ESPN. I wasn’t there to see two Hobey Baker Award (hockey’s Heisman) winner, George McPhee and Brian Holzinger, but they increased my pride.
Today, the BG Ice Arena faces the threat of becoming nothing more than a physical education facility. While surfing this part Friday I discovered the university is considering disbanding its hockey program.
The facility and finances are at the heart of the issue. After years of neglect, the 40 year-old arena is antiquated – in need of both repair and renovation. Updating has been delayed – funding decreased and eventually cut. Surely the facility hasn’t made recruiting easy, thus it’s been a tough last 10 years for Falcon faithful.
Past neglect (by choice) and tough economic times have put the university’s administration between a rock and a hard place. Part of investing in a team is investing in the facilities, and I hope this is not a search-for-financing plea as clearly used by pro franchises.
As avid of a fan I was and as much as I still bleed orange, I say pull the plug. Instead of continuing as a bottom dweller and having one of the worst facilities in the CCHA, I’ll settle for no more embarassment and living in my memories – the kind I’ll get when I return to campus, sit in the seat, and remember when the building shook.
Images from the Associated Press and Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune
PS: It’s 4:15 pm (same day of the post) and the BGSU Athletic Director posted an open letter today stating all sports are safe for next year – but also emphasizes the budget constraints.