History[ edit ] Early history —[ edit ] According to records, the first intercollegiate hockey team at the University of Minnesota was organized in by Dr. Parkyn,  a Toronto native who also played on the school's football team. They lost 11—3. Gibbons headed a committee to create an official varsity hockey club at the U. Although there was some effort to get Northrop Field flooded, it was ultimately decided to play on Como Lake in St.
Instead, the focus was on the announced attendance of 1, in an arena that holds 10, I was told there were 1, tickets pre-sold for this GopherHockey playoff game. TheRinkLive pic. The announced attendance this time was 1, Gophers up , by the way. Do we all wish it was better?
But we had a game to play. Clock started at 20 each period and we had to play. They were loud, you could hear them. There was some enthusiasm in that building.
There has been grumbling about the price of regular-season tickets, and complaints about the additional charge that came with mandatory donations tied to scholarship seating. While the Gophers knew they would be playing host to the first round two weeks ago, the general public was not offered the chance to buy tickets until this past Tuesday.
Not surprisingly, the small crowd on Friday quickly became a hot topic on social media.
Did the high school hockey tournament impact some fans who might have elected to stay home and watch the Gophers and the prep tournament — the Wild also played — instead of going to the University of Minnesota campus?
There also was the announced attendance of 17, in St. The first statement has been the rallying cry for many, including me at times, since the Gophers made the move from the WCHA to the Big Ten in That is the season that Penn State became the sixth hockey playing school in the conference, thus triggering other Big Ten hockey schools to abandon their conferences and make the move.
The University of Minnesota has taken blame for moving from the WCHA, but the reality is it had no choice and even voted against the change, although the vote carried no weight. Having hockey fans angry at them might not be ideal for the university, but it certainly has been worth it. The increase is due in part to the new television agreements that began in and the success of the Big Ten Network.
There also was the factor that many WCHA opponents were within driving distance and that the puck would usually drop around 7 p. Many of those advantages are now gone. Depending on which network is showing a game, the start times also can vary.
The comfort that came from the consistency that once existed is gone. Nonetheless, the Gophers finished third in the nation this season in average attendance, according to the USCHO website.
Only North Dakota 11, and Wisconsin 10, averaged more fans per game. There are a large amount of empty seats that used to be full. Some of this is out of the control of the university and athletic director Mark Coyle, but certainly not all of it.
What athletic officials needed to come to grips with years ago is they got a huge break when the North Stars left town in Until the Wild arrived in , Gophers hockey was the biggest game in town.
The move to the new Mariucci came in the same season that the Stars debuted in Dallas. But when the Wild began play in their self-proclaimed State of Hockey in it changed things for the Gophers, even though fan interest remained strong.
But the Gophers have made it past the first round of the NCAA tournament only once since joining the Big Ten and could miss the tournament for a second consecutive season this year.
Even if the Gophers return to where many feel they belong, is that going to be enough to fill 3M Arena at Mariucci on a consistent basis?
Or do added fees for certain seats have to be eliminated and the price structure of tickets in the entire building drastically reduced?
While these moves likely would help, the reality is that recapturing the magic that once surrounded this program, at least when it comes to attendance, simply might not be possible.