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Two Minutes’ Hate: Once bitten, twice shy

March 6, 2012

It’s time for playoff hockey, and that means it’s time to throw rational, fact-driven commentary out the window. We present to you now a positively Orwellian exercise in general dislike: “The Two Minutes’ Hate.”

A classic New England city brimming with history. A quaint metropolis overflowing with culture, fine dining and exciting nightlife.
Whoops. That’s Boston. Excuse us. Providence… Providence. Ah, got it.

Providence, Rhode Island. A cesspool of corruption and unfortunate breeding practices. A crime-ridden hellhole saddled with poor public education, a maddening lack of civility, and the unnerving stench of an open grave.

Let’s be honest, here. We’re talking about a state whose two most famous residents are DJ Pauly D and noted conservative nutjob Elizabeth Hasselbeck, both of whom were still smart enough to leave the second they got the chance. A state so loathed by the rest of New England that during the floods of 2010, a resounding “Shucks!” could be heard from Caribou to Hartford when the ocean failed to reclaim its namesake “state.”

And the sad part is, in a state this grimy and uncouth; Providence is still the best it has to offer. A city that clears out at dusk faster than Salem’s Lot. A city that is, at its core, nothing more than a dirtier, less-reputable Worcester with a 400 percent increase in blow-outs. When the Boston Bruins threaten to send a player to Providence, it’s not the demotion and paycut that turns his stomach.

And let’s not forget, a city that elected known scumbag Buddy Cianci for mayor for over 21 years, who was twice removed from office for felony convictions. Twice! Yup, Providence has a ton going for it. That is, if you’re into violent crime, homelessness and 178,000 people who wish they lived in Massachusetts.

And in the middle of that towering monument to urban decay sits Providence College, a school so bereft of intellectual wherewithal that, when the naming of the institution came up for a vote, someone said, “What city are we in again,” and that somehow settled it. With that kind of poor planning in mind, it’s easy to see how it now so destitute it falls behind RIC and CCRI on the list of colleges we’d send a kid to over our dead body.

But because of that, it’s rather appropriate that this is home to the Friars men’s hockey team. That’s not to be confused with the Lady Friars women’s hockey team, which is an honest-to-Roloson real thing we have not made up. Lady Friars. Indeed.

In short, this team is a living, breathing disaster. Since the holiday break the Friars have gone a remarkable 4-11-3, including a 5-2 defeat at the hands of the only real Division 1 team in their entire sorry excuse for a state, Brown. During that pathetic streak (while Hockey East frantically called Atlantic Hockey, offering Providence in a straight up trade for Holy Cross or AIC, no take-backs) the Friars were outscored by a staggering 65-33 margin. In their last four games, PC hasn’t come close to sniffing a win, getting their doors blown off by BC and Lowell, twice each.

Surely there must be something redeeming about Providence College hockey, you might be saying to yourself. A private college, playing in Hockey East; there has to be a plus somewhere? You’d be wrong, and we’ll gladly take your name down to add to the list of people who’ve doubted us.

The fact of the matter is the nicest thing we can say about Providence College is that at least no one in the state of Rhode Island goes to the home games, so we don’t have to deal with panhandlers begging for change in line at the concession stands. Their rink, named Schneider Arena after someone whose relatives certainly lives in daily shame for the “honor,” is the second-smallest in Hockey East, only 600 larger than Merrimack’s model airplane hangar. Originally colored in dreadful red and yellow pattern that would make Ronald McDonald self-immolate like a Korean monk, the arena didn’t shift to the black-and-white color scheme (how fitting, you know, considering those are the school colors) until 2006. It only took 33 years to raise the approximate $350,000 to make the switch. At that rate, they should be able to add a new popcorn machine by 2045.

Schneider Arena is affectionately known as The Coffin by the half dozen or so fans that attend games sporadically throughout the season. Theorized reasons for the nickname are varied:

1. The freezing temperatures and low ceiling, which makes an uncomfortable situation even worse, give attendees the feeling that the Grim Reaper is running his icy, skeletal hand down their spines at all times.

2. This is a building where hockey players careers come to their lamentable end, usually slow and painfully. More players and coaches than we care to tabulate have thrown away any semblance of a bright future by playing for Providence.

3. The sheer number of homeless people that have died sleeping on the heating grates.

4. The utter silence that comes with playing (poorly) in front of a crowd numbering in the dozens every night.

Whatever the case may be, The Coffin is an aptly-named venue, fitting for a team of stiffs playing in front of the smallest fan base in Hockey East. Providence fans are like jackalopes: You’re pretty sure they don’t exist, but every now and again a picture pops up on the internet and a new flurry of rumors starts. The few idiots who do show up have helped contribute to their team’s demise by running out every coach who walks through the door. Paul Pooley, who brought the Friars three 20 win seasons, had five seasons over .500 and a NCAA Tournament berth in the 2000 season was run out of town by malcontent fans who are delusional enough to believe that they should be competing for a national title every year. In 2005 Providence put its faith, in Tim Army, whose teams got increasingly worse until they were the laughingstock of Hockey East. He lasted six years before getting the axe. Now the Friars have turned to former Union coach Nate Leaman. Heralded in the beginning of the season in the same breath as Norm Bazin (Yes! THAT Norm Bazin!), Leaman has quickly crashed back to earth as his Friars have once again taken their rightful place in the pit of Hockey East.

Fortunately for the Friars, the end is nigh. After being punked on senior night in their joke of an arena, Lowell completed the weekend sweep by systematically humiliating the Friars on Saturday. When things fell the right way around the league, and the Friars learned that a return trip to Lowell for the playoffs was inevitable, we imagine the bus driver was offered a cool $50 to steer the coach into oncoming traffic.

Assuming the Friars don’t simply stay home and forfeit, for the mental wellbeing of their players, we can imagine no scenario where Lowell doesn’t dominate from whistle to horn.

Of course, the drawback there for the Friars is they have to spend the weekend in Providence. We wouldn’t wish that on Amherst.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 6, 2012 12:05 pm

    Oh how I have missed posts like this. Simply awesome, as expected.

  2. Monty permalink
    March 6, 2012 12:11 pm

    Been much too long since we’ve seen “The Hate.” Welcome back.

  3. Jim permalink
    March 6, 2012 12:15 pm

    Great post!

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