September 15, 2004
Postcard: Welcome, NHL Fans

Doomsday? Not Here
We wrote this welcome letter back in September, when the lockout began, but if you’ve been waiting to join us while holding out hope for a settlement, we can’t blame you. We’re familiar with unfulfilled hope – some UNH fans have explained the idea to us.

Don’t get that reference? Don’t worry. We’ll catch you up quickly on the basics of the college game. The good news is that you’re joining us as the season is reaching its peak. Three weeks remain in the regular season, with great conference races at every turn, and the playoffs aren’t far behind.

So relax and enjoy the rest of college hockey season. At least until April 9, we can satisfy your hockey craving. After that, the pressure’s back on Bettman and Goodenow.

Inside College Hockey

Greetings, NHL fans, and welcome. We’ve been expecting you.

Settle in and enjoy our game. We’ll make room for you. Heck, from the sounds of it there are so few of you out there we could probably fit you all in the penalty boxes.

In truth, most of us who follow college hockey are NHL fans as well, whether it be supporters of our hometown teams or collegians who we have sent off to the pros – even those who left a year or two earlier than we would have liked.

So we’re a bit distraught about this lockout as well, although we know that better days lie ahead. Specifically, October 3, when the puck drops between Maine and Vermont and the college hockey season begins.

There are a few things you should keep in mind before we get started. First, we don’t have a red line. Actually, we do have a red line, but it’s about as useful as a trophy case at the Capitals’ MCI Center. We use it for icing, but not two-line passes, which you’ll quickly see can open up the game.

That reminds us. Don’t be surprised if teams come out with playoff-like intensity, and the games in October are as exciting as those in March. With only 40 games, and just two each week, each one matters. This is no place for sleepwalkers, which is why we sent Thomas Vanek to the NHL.

You probably won’t see our hidden gem on ESPN, at least until the Frozen Four, but it’s not hard to find. We’ve got 58 teams in Division I, spread across the country. With the right satellite dish, you can catch several games every Friday or Saturday night – and occasionally, here at INCH we’ll walk you through our efforts to watch each one.

We’ll do our best to make you feel welcome over the next few weeks, months or years as this lockout drags on. We’ll teach you the proper pronunciation of “Sieve!” and alternate lyrics to “Give My Regards to Broadway.” We’ll introduce you to the next Martin St. Louis and the first Jimmy Howard. We’ll give you the history of the Gold Pan, the Beanpot, the Hobey Baker, and tell you how Red Berenson wore maize and blue before he became a Blue.

And when it’s all said and done, we’ll hold nothing against you if you return to the NHL. But we won’t be surprised one bit if you decide to stick around.

Inside College Hockey

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