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USCHOmbudsman: What’s in the water up there?

February 20, 2008

If someone asked what the USCHO.com forums were all about, the answer provided by the website would probably be similar to the following response:

“The USCHO.com forum is a website where intelligent college hockey fans can debate and discuss the many aspects of a niche sport that they love and support.”

It seems like a decent response. Yet, as any fan who has spent more than five minutes on the message boards can tell you that “ideal” description is about as valid as a Maine player’s CORI report.

The sad truth is, the population of USCHO.com is more akin to a cross section of your average fifth grade classroom. Among the posters you’ll find cliques of bullies, elitists, crybabies, loners, cool kids (not really), (former) jocks, nerds, fatties and know-it-alls. And, just like your average classroom, that one crazy kid.

When it comes to Hockey East, the odd-smelling kid who eats erasers and wears a leather jacket every day regardless of the weather resides in Burlington. The fans of the University of Vermont are, in a word, delusional. Since joining Hockey East three seasons ago, the Catamounts have been mediocre at best; yet if you were to judge the results of the Vermont squad by the expectations of their fans, you’d assume UVM has won 27 Hockey East games every year since entering the league. Just to exemplify the depth of this insanity, the 2007-2008 UVM season thread on USCHO.com is subtitled “Third time’s a charm for home ice.” Think about that.

Recently, UVM fan “montyminny” posted the following after sweeping Merrimack in Burlington:

Controlling ones own destiny…it is really good to see this team doing that. Next 2 weekends vs. Lowell and Maine should see the same results, beating teams that they should beat. Even though Lowell beat BC on Friday night, have to believe BC was still high from their Beanpot win. BC took it to Lowell the next night.

Where to even begin?

First, and most glaring, is the fact that a sub-.500 team is lumping the 19th-ranked River Hawks with the current cellar dwellers, Maine and Merrimack is laughable. Secondly, when has Lowell ever been a team Vermont “should” beat? In the seven games the two teams have played over the last three years, the record stands at 3-3-1. At the Tsongas Arena, where they will meet this weekend, Vermont is a massively unimpressive 1-2. And over the past two seasons, the back-to-back games between the two have been dominated by Lowell, 3-0-1.

Something else to point out: Notice how Lowell’s victory over Boston College (at the Heights) is dismissed as a Beanpot hangover. This coming from a team who is an embarrassing 2-8-1 against the Eagles since joining Hockey East, and 0-7 in games played at BC.

When this was subtlety pointed out to the UVM fans, “Snwbrdr” had an answer for Vermont’s late-season futility against Lowell:

Some of that UVM futility at Tsongas was the last weekend of the season when UVM could not move in the standings.

Oh, well that explains everything. Vermont couldn’t move up in the standings, so the game didn’t matter. It makes sense. We can easily picture Kevin Sneddon rallying the troops in the visitor’s locker room at the Tsongas Arena with the battle cry, “This game doesn’t matter! Let them roll over you!”

We can’t understand what type of person thinks that a college hockey coach would actually let his team take a weekend off when the playoffs literally started the next week. Sure, the Catamounts have been massively unprepared for the playoffs each of the last two years, so it might not be outside of the realm of possibility that that’s exactly what Sneddon did. It would certainly explain a lot.

We’re not sure we’ll ever understand the bizarre sense of entitlement UVM fans carry with them. They were merely mediocre in the ECAC, after all. But we’ll give Vermont fans the benefit the doubt. We think everyone in Hockey East should know, consecutive sixth place finishes be damned, the Catamounts are thiiiiiiis close to home ice.

We consider ourselves on notice.

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