this year's Hockey East championship weekend led to some traffic
on I-93 and crowds on the T. But more than a few fans made longer
trips, and were able to count frozen ponds on their descent into
four college buddies from two states and three countries to a
row of club seats in Section 115 of the FleetCenter. It's become
a tradition for Toby, Chad, Matt and Pete, who converge on Boston
from England, Detroit, Montreal and Durham, respectively. They
all graduated from UNH between 1987 and 1992.
It's the type
of reunion that was undoubtedly repeated in Albany, Detroit and
St. Paul, and will be elsewhere in the next three weeks. Pete
picked up the tickets the day they went on sale, and the group
met up in Boston on Friday.
It all started
a few years back when Pete had an extra ticket and called Chad,
two days before the semifinals. Chad found his way from Detroit
on short notice, and since then, they plan ahead.
them on faith every year," Chad said. "There's that
day in December when they go on sale, and at 11:05 it's all set.
Then we've just got our fingers crossed that UNH will make it."
always that risk that we're going to end up watching Merrimack
and Northeastern," said Toby.
made the trip from London, earned free pre-game wings from the
others – not for his travels, of course, but because he
leads the group in INCH Pick 'Em. He discovered college hockey
early in his time in Durham, where he helped make Snively Arena
hockey was my favorite thing about college," said Toby, holding
a Union Jack with "UNH" written on it. "It's the
closest thing to soccer I ever found."
in London, Detroit and Montreal, college hockey has its hooks
in these guys, and it's not just one weekend a season. During
the year, they watch New Hampshire Public Television's online
broadcasts, discussing the game in a chat room while it takes
As they say,
distance truly can make the heart grow fonder – in friendships,
as well as college hockey.