“Football Atmosphere”
Has Been Replaced

by Troy Dreyfus

When something is exciting in the world of sports… it is often referred to as a “football atmosphere”.  I remember the ECU vs. Tennessee super regional baseball games in Kinston many years ago, which happened to be Coach Keith LeClair’s last as head coach.  If you were there, you would probably agree it was a “football atmosphere”.  There has been many a basketball game in Minges Coliseum where there was a “football atmosphere”.  I would even say that the ECU Club Hockey team had  “football atmosphere” games last season inside Bladez on Ice.  Speaking of hockey (nice segue, huh?), I had the opportunity to attend three of the Stanley Cup final games in Raleigh.  It was one week ago that the Canes won the cup, and brought home the first and only pro title to our state.

I must admit that I was never a huge hockey fan.  Like most kids growing up in the south in the 70’s and 80’s, there was just no exposure to the sport.  I had nothing against it; I just did not follow it that closely since I never played it.  Well, the arrival of an NHL team in my old hometown in the late 90’s, and their recent success has changed all that.  Bandwagon fan you say?  Sure I am, and proud of it!  I’m glad that I had the chance to see this awesome team in person, and be open minded enough to realize what I had been missing.  This is what winning does, it creates new fans, but in the process I learned just how exciting hockey can be!
It is hard to compare the Stanley Cup games to any other sport.  No other sport moves at the speed of professional hockey, no other sport has players any tougher or with more heart than professional hockey, no other sport can keep you glued to the action for the entire game like professional hockey.

Game 7 was an experience I will never forget, and if you were lucky enough to be there, you know what I mean.  I have been to many major sporting events (two Super Bowls, a Final Four, U.S. Open, major college bowl games, etc.,) but game 7 of the Stanley Cup was another level.  I have never been to any event where the crowd from the front row, all the way up to the nosebleed seats, never sat down…. not even during the timeouts! The noise was also unlike anything heard before.

If things can get rockin’ and rollin’ at the next football game or other sporting event you attend, perhaps we should now refer to that as a “hockey atmosphere”!

Since the Canes magical run, I have become sold on hockey.  It’s only 60 minutes from Greenville, and I encourage you to get to a game next season, and see for yourself what everybody seems to be talking about.  I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

Troy Dreyfus