A year ago, I wrote to Santa with suggestions of what each of the Division-I coaches might be wanting for Christmas, and he was kind enough to reply. Or at least his legal counsel did, although admittedly, cease and desist were about the only words I understood.
Anyway, I got the idea that the gang at the North Pole didn’t really want my help, so I decided to visit each campus and ask the coach what was on his or her wish list. Apparently, I must have waited too long, as I found a lot of empty buildings and the only insight gained came from hearing what music was left playing in the teams’ locker rooms.
Bemidji State: “Home for the Holidays,” by the Carpenters. The Beavers would prefer that there also be no place like home for a hockey game. After pulling a number of high-profile upsets in their new arena over its first two seasons, they have yet to post a win in the Sanford Center in the current campaign.
Boston College: “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”. I didn’t recognize the singer, or frankly, the lyrics. “Hark The Herald — ‘Eagles Win!’ Glory to the new-crowned queens.” In any case, whether recruits are following a star to The Heights or winding up at BC by other means, their caliber suggests that it is only a matter of time until they rise to the top.
Boston University: “Do You Hear What I Hear?” by Pink Martini. That question is often asked around rinks regarding commitment news, but such information has been slow to come to light concerning the Terriers, a team with a sizable senior class.
Brown: “‘Zat You, Santa Claus?” by Louis Armstrong. It’s doubtful that ‘zat is an accepted contraction at an Ivy League institution, but the Bears’ offense could definitely use a little jazzing up.
Clarkson: “What Child Is This?” by Josh Groban. So far, the answer to that question in Potsdam has been rookie Erin Ambrose, who has contributed 1.19 assists per game, the best average of any defenseman. Her play is a big reason why the No. 2 Golden Knights now combine the country’s third-best power play with an already stout defense.
Colgate: “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” by Cee Lo Green. I’ve been in a few arenas lately that were just as cold.
Connecticut: “River,” by Sarah McLaclan. Yes, I can see that in the midst of a season like this, one might wish for a river to skate away on.
Cornell: “Must Be Santa,” by Mitch Miller. For some reason, the volume spiked up during the line about the “Big red cherry nose.”
Dartmouth: “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” by Ella Fitzgerald. The Big Green have their plans set, as they will close 2012 by traveling to Providence to duel the Friars.
Harvard: “The Skaters Waltz,” by some orchestra; my ear isn’t discerning enough to identify whom. The Crimson have certainly waltzed through the ECAC schedule thus far.
Lindenwood: “I Really Don’t Want Much for Christmas,” by Chris Botti. It’s the other days of the year that the Lions could use a little help.
Maine: “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” by Thurl Ravenscroft. In addition to ripping off all of the Whos in Whoville, that old Grinch has apparently stolen the Black Bears’ season.
Mercyhurst: “The Christmas Waltz,” by Nancy Wilson. The New Year dream that the Lakers hope comes true is an extension of their strings of 10 CHA season titles and eight NCAA tournament bids.
Minnesota: “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late),” by The Chipmunks. I was expecting “Brokenhearted” by Karmin, because that’s all I’ve heard coming out of that locker room this year, even though it isn’t the first thing that comes to mind for a victory song. Instead, Goldy must have gotten the last crack at the sound system.
Minnesota-Duluth: “In the Bleak Midwinter,” by James Taylor. Although things aren’t as bleak in Duluth as many programs, the Bulldogs reach the holidays with a record under .500 for the first time.
Minnesota State: “O Holy Night,” by Celine Dion. That’s probably a good phrase for hockey coaches to have handy, because it works well as an expletive, but is less likely to draw a bench minor.
New Hampshire: “Blue Christmas,” by Elvis Presley. The most depressing Christmas song ever, but if you mix in a little white with that, then the mood of Wildcats fans will improve immeasurably.
North Dakota: “Winter Wonderland,” by Peggy Lee. Lee was born in North Dakota, but over the next semester, UND will look to another pair of natives of the state to lead it to a wonderland of a different sort in their final season for their hometown team.
Northeastern: “A Holly Jolly Christmas,” by Burl Ives. By all means, have a great Christmas, but be prepared for the second-half schedule that hits with all of the force of that storm in the animated Rudolph show with which I associate this song.
Ohio State: “A Five Pound Box of Money,” by Pearl Bailey. My first thought is that five-pound box probably doesn’t buy what it did when Bailey recorded the song, followed closely by relief that we’re talking about women’s hockey and not a sport where “box of money” throws up a red flag.
Penn State: “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” by Nat King Cole. While Bethlehem, Pa., isn’t that close to University Park, it’s fitting that a land-grant institution would represent the entire state. As for it being the wrong Bethlehem, U.S. cities don’t get a lot of play in biblical stories.
Princeton: “Christmas Canon,” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. At first, I thought I’d stumbled into a wedding rehearsal. These Ivy Leaguers don’t mess around with songs like “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls.”
Providence: “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” by the Jackson 5. Santa will quickly be followed by Dartmouth, and I’d worry more about the Big Green, because Claus doesn’t have much of a forecheck.
Quinnipiac: “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” by Brenda Lee. Our Christmas tree was usually in a corner, or at least against a wall, so it was hard to rock around. Plus, Mom would holler if we got too rambunctious. The Bobcats are the least-penalized team, so maybe they don’t have a problem with rambunctiousness.
Rensselaer: “Christmas in the Sand,” by Colbie Caillat. I don’t think sand belongs in a Christmas song any more than it does on an ice sheet. Although now that I think about it, there was probably a lot of sand around for the first Christmas. Those smart engineers at RPI would have thought of that sooner.
Robert Morris: “Last Christmas,” by Taylor Swift. Swift you say? A team can never have enough speed, and she’s from Pennsylvania; I wonder if she has eligibility remaining?
RIT: “There’s a New Kid in Town,” by Blake Shelton. The Tigers have done nothing to embarrass themselves as they make the rounds in their new home, although RIT has lost a bit of ground on Syracuse in the battle for third in the CHA.
St. Cloud State: “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” by Michael Bublé. That’s a relief, because due to not playing at home until November, the Huskies were on the road for a dozen games in the first half.
St. Lawrence: “Miracles,” by Kenny G. It won’t quite take a miracle, as the Saints record is slightly better than it was a year ago, but they will need a similar renaissance to what they enjoyed out of the break last season to return to the NCAA tourney.
Syracuse: “Cool Yule,” by Bette Midler. It’s a lot more cool when you’re winning, which the Orange have done with more frequency than the previous couple of seasons.
Union: “Happy Holiday,” by Andy Williams. The Dutchwomen arrive at the holiday break on a multi-game winning streak for the first time.
Vermont: “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey. This one was faint, but I was able to recognize Carey’s modern Christmas classic. However, I could have sworn there was a hint of a Carley Rae Jepsen “Call Me Maybe” medley mixed in. Strange.
Wisconsin: “O Come All Ye Faithful,” by Frank Sinatra. Nowhere do the faithful turn out in greater numbers than Madison. The Badgers have been number one in attendance for the last six seasons, and are leading once again.
Yale: “White Christmas,” by Bing Crosby. Beyond Christmas, let’s dream of a white Ingalls Rink on Jan. 26, when the Bulldogs host a “White Out for Mandi” in support of the Mandi Schwartz Foundation.