Ten things you might have wanted to know about the 2003 Frozen Four, but didn’t ask:
1. The mascot costumes for Goldy Gopher and the UNH Wildcat aren’t fur from head to toe. The torso is “shaved” to accommodate the team jersey. Admit it: you always wondered how they got those things on.
2. The Minnesota skating cheerleaders had their own warmup area, located in the bowels of the HSBC arena. It was wisely located on the opposite side of the building from the media area, much to the disappointment of at least one USCHO.com staffer.
3. Nearly a third of the fans in attendance were clad in jerseys of some kind, from the NHL to youth teams. College sweaters spotted: UNH (duh), Minnesota (duh), Cornell (duh), Michigan (duh), Lowell, Wisconsin, BU, BC, North Dakota, Ohio State, St. Cloud, Maine, Clarkson, Harvard, Providence, RPI, Alaska-Anchorage, Northern Michigan, Michigan State, Bowling Green, Lake Superior, Canisius, St. Lawrence, Fredonia State and RIT (five different ones!).
4. Some fans had unique vanity sweaters. Favorites included a “Sopranos” jersey, an “Oglethorp” Syracuse Bulldogs jersey, and a men’s league jersey with the name “Aikenhead” on the back.
5. Parents needed to cover their kids’ ears when hearing the multiple playings of Gary Glitter’s arena anthem “Rock and Roll Part II” during the Cornell-New Hampshire game, since the Big Red fans sing some interesting alternative lyrics. A sailor in the crowd was seen blushing.
6. Fans really, really hated the new NCAA ads. After running them ad nauseam on TV during March Madness and during every TV timeout of both semifinals, the NCAA made the fatal error of showing them again during breaks of the Hobey Baker presentation ceremony. They were booed lustily by the standing-room-only crowd. The best part was the expression on the faces of those who did not attend the games on Thursday, who were shocked by the apparent unsportsmanlike reaction.
7. If a fight breaks out, you want Minnesota’s Matt DeMarchi on your side. The senior defenseman from Bemidji, Minn., broke the Gopher career record for penalty minutes by amassing a total of 130 this season. DeMarchi, who scored the Gophers’ first goal in the title game, had almost 20 percent of Minnesota’s total minutes, a new record. DeMarchi’s total was 52 minutes more than the next closest player on his team, and a whopping 74 more than any player on UNH’s roster.
8. There are good people in Western New York, evidenced not only by the friendly, helpful ones we’ve encountered, but by Rochester, N.Y., native Sam Paolini’s recognition as the 2003 Hockey Humanitarian Award winner. It’s the third time in the eight-year history of the award that the winner has had WNY connections. In 1999 RIT’s Kristine Pierce-Brassie won the award; last season it went to Buffalo State’s Rocky Reeves.
9. Buffalo does indeed have a nightlife. And it goes until 4 a.m. Ouch.
10. April Madness is much better than March Madness. But you knew that.