Your Guide to All Things Mass Attack
First, a quick note on the modern era.
The “modern era” of UMass hockey started with the construction of the Mullins Center back in 1993, after a long hiatus after the once-Division II program was relegated to club status in 1979. We know UMass hockey dates back to 1908, we’re well aware of that 1972 D2 Championship banner that hangs from the rafters, but we’re really not here to talk about the past. We mean absolutely no disrespect to any alumni who read the blog, but as a blog written primarily by current students, our interests are in the modern era in Amherst, as the program builds its way out of nonexistence and looks to make a name for itself in one of, if not the, premier conference in all of college hockey.
Our bunker: The William D. Mullins Memorial Center
We’re a slightly bit concerned at what goes on in here.
Built in the early 90s, “The Bill” towers over the athletic fields on the west side of the UMass campus. Rather spartan on the outside and spacious on the inside, the Bill, like much of the campus from an architectural perspective, is more practical than pretty. But what it lacks in terms of pure aesthetics (Agannis) or cheap, trying-too-hard flash (Tsongas), it makes up for in sheer character. When it’s really rockin’, 8,000+ can be deafening. On our more quiet nights, the die-hards are that much more audible. Add in two very nice scoreboards, underrated public-address work, a crowd-pleasing soundtrack with a few unique mainstays, solid food choices (from pizza, chicken strips, and Subway to freshly-pressed burritos and clam chowder)…really, what else could you ask for? Well, besides beer sales. And luxury boxes. And a concourse. Shut up. We love the Bill, and so should you.
A Few of Our Favorite Things:
Douglas Howard Kublin – (2013 EDIT: We saw Doug at a BC game in 2013 and he ignored us, thus he will now be referred to as Doug Snublin) Currently, the official player of Fight Mass. Best defenseman on the team. Underrated as fuck. Does all the little things that win hockey games that don’t necessarily show up on the stat sheet. Wellman and Marcou scouting circus be damned, we’re still convinced Kublin’s extended mono absence in winter 2009-2010 was what really brought that team down. Notably recorded a +5 against Vermont during our pilgrimage to UVM in January 2011, which is Ron Swanson-level awesomeness if we ever saw it. Doug Kublin’s play: it’s Kuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuubtastic! (TM)
The Hold Steady – Official band of Fight Mass, and one of the many things Max and Matt bonded over. (Derek eventually saw the light, too.) Combines lyrically-dense, Dylan-esque storytelling with Springsteen’s rock sensibilities. You’ll see their lyrics all over the place in our articles, and their album/song title “Stay Positive” is sort of a credo of ours.
The Maple Leaf – Official pregame beverage of Fight Mass. Max invented it, Matt named it, we’ve all enjoyed it (plenty). Take one shot Yukon Jack, drop into a half-cup of Red Bull, enjoy all at once. The Canadian version of a Jagerbomb, only with a higher ABV content and, in our opinion, tastier. Just be warned, you WILL be hyped the fuck up if you do a couple of these. And, uhh, obviously we wouldn’t condone or participate in underage drinking. Obviously.
Max showcasing the required ingredients of the Maple Leaf.
Notable Maple Leaf Alternatives That We May or May Not Have Tried:
– “The Dainton Bomb:” Bacardi 151 and Four Loko (original formula)
– “The Bad Decision:” Yukon Jack Permafrost Schnapps and Four Loko (original formula)
Tamales – Probably the best compromise the Mullins has to offer in terms of food; if nutrition’s not an object to you, the Sunset Strips chicken is probably better, but you can’t go wrong with the Tamales burritos. Simple yet tasty, and they’re huge, which is good considering they’re like 8 bucks for a burrito plus a drink.
Charlie’s – WAS the official bar of the Fight Mass writers and their close associates, due to its friendly atmosphere and low drink prices. Yeah, it was a dive, but it also wasn’t shoulder-to-shoulder people like the usual Amherst hotspots. Unfortunately, Charlie’s closed early in 2010, in a tragedy we’re choosing to include as being somehow part of the Cahoon Swoon. New Charlie’s just isn’t quite the same.
The Moan and Dove – Actually, screw Charlie’s, this place exists.
Breaking Bad – Dipping sticks, Skyler. Seriously though, best show on TV. You’re a bad person for not watching it.
Titus Andronicus:-The Best Band that isn’t the hold steady. Go listen to the monitor and know what it is to hear genius.
Bonnaroo– The best 4 days in the world, aka a yearly Music Festival held in Manchester TN. Matt has been 3 times, Max 1 and good golly we’ll be back next year.
How The Rest of Hockey East Really Feels (to us)
*ranked from most-hated to least-cared-about*
UPDATED for 2012!
Boston College (sucks)
I’m not gonna bother changing this one from when we first wrote this list, because it’s BC and our hatred of this program will never waver. First off, it’s neither in Boston nor is it a college. (And what’s the deal with airline food?!) Also… BC sucks. Unequivocally. To us they’re like the Yankees, Lakers, Washington Generals, Canadiens, the Soviet hockey team, the smoke monster, and AIDS all rolled into one, in the form of a university. Plus, we here are, like, really into the secular thing, so there’s that whole “evil Catholic school” thing going for them. BC kids tend to be the most pompous, arrogant, self-satisfied pricks in the world, despite most of them riding on their parents’ coattails their entire lives, leading to our characterization of the typical BC fan as being one who – and please, read this in a pompous, exagerrated rich person accent – “wouldn’t DREAM of taking the Lexus to Amherst, why, that’s the ghetto!” and insisting on “putting it on daddy’s chaaaaarge!” BC fans also further the stereotype of the pink-hatters, the Boston sports fans who hop aboard the bandwagon the first chance they get. You know, the average jackass with a Garnett jersey who’s never heard of Antoine Walker and doesn’t know what position Rondo plays? Yeah, he’s probably a BC fan too, even though he didn’t go there.
By the way, if you attend UMass and wear BC gear around campus without a legitimate (read: someone in your direct family went there) reason to do so? Get the fuck out.
I will point out that’s we’ve now lost something like 11 billion consecutive playoff games to these guys, so take our bitching with a grain of salt.
(Oh, we do like Jerry York, though, but how can you not? Guy’s a class act.)
Sometimes we actually tend to hate BU more, because really, they’re almost somehow MORE pompous than the BC kids, but at least the power stays on in their home arena (which is very pretty, if a little sterile). Also, instead of a likable head coach, they have Satan himself on the bench. And also now something about rape, that we obviously won’t go into other than to mention that we’re sort of scared of how full-of-itself the BU hockey culture has become. It does suck to BU, but just to piss off their fans, we’re gonna put them second behind BC. They’re used to that.
University of New Hampshire
Max lives in New Hampshire now, and Derek works up there, and it’s a pretty sweet state and all, if it weren’t for its horrifically overrated flagship state university. Nothing is more infuriating that the knowledge that people from Massachusetts actually pay more to come up to an inferior state school just because the Boston Globe told them to. UMass was a top-100 national university this year. UNH was not. There you go. Also, fuck those kids, they get to be right by the ocean and such. Fortunately we’ll never play them in any sport that isn’t hockey ever again.
Haha, we weren’t gonna waste a whole paragraph on fucking Merrimack in the past, but now they’ve inexplicably become the darlings of Hockey East after one and a half seasons of good play. They play in what is almost literally a Home Depot, they stole our head coach, and their arena is packed to the brink with people dressed as Spongebob, obnoxious children, and yelling old delusional ladies. And their campus is in a miserably dumb part of the state.
Lowell Community College
UMass’s adopted, ugly sister with a unibrow and a coke addiction. We’ll mix and match with the derisive nicknames, but never will we refer to it by the name our university system tries to sell on us (although we’d otherwise consider calling it “UMass?-LOL”). Eastern Mass. State at Lowell is located in one of the grimiest, darkest places Massachusetts has to offer, a living, breathing episode of COPS whose redeeming features include “hey, Boston’s less than an hour away, we can do stuff there!” and “hey, at least it’s not Worcester!” Even before UMass’s recent academic upswing (but certainly now), Blowell State is the safety school of safety schools, unless you’re into, like, textiles or whatever the fuck they do better than us. For real, their engineering school is supposedly better than ours, which is great considering the market for engineers right now is positively booming. By sheer virtue of their existing steadily for a longer period of time, the River Rats hockey program, believe it or not, actually boasts an ever-so-slightly more impressive resume than UMass’s, with a whopping THREE NCAA tournament appea….zzzzzzzz….yeah, we stopped caring a while ago too, especially since the last time it happened, Bill Clinton was still in office. Notably, last season, Lowell’s BEST TEAM EVER(TM), featuring a smorgasbord of seniors and two top-notch goaltenders, was knocked out in the Hockey East Quarterfinals by an injury-plagued Maine team running out its third-string goalie, the immortal Dave Wilson. Luckily, UBlowell looks to rebound in its first season as owners of the beautiful Tsongas Center, nee Arena, in scenic downtown Lowell. Tsongas features a world-class video scoreboard over center ice as well as new ribbon scoreboards that – we shit you not – display the eyes of the goal-scorer.
They do have a fantastic blog following them, which is kind of like how the Pittsburgh Pirates have a lights-out setup man. (UPDATE: And just as Evan Meek ended up being too good to be true, Lowell’s blog has appeared to abandon their once-beloved River Rats. If we had to root for a team with Mike Budd playing key minutes late in games, or, you know, had to live in Lowell, we’d probably stop trying to make time to write about these things too.)
University of Maine
For some reason, tensions seem to flare more often than not between these teams. This is one of those rivalries which seems more legitimate with the players than with the fans, though the former’s intensity would probably fuel the latter if not for the long, long drive between Amherst and Middle-of-Nowherono. UMass, now-famously, swept four straight games over two weekends against the Black Bears in 06-07, ending the regular season and sweeping the HEA Quarters, all against the aforementioned Dave Wilson (making his mastery of Blowell last year all the more satisfying to us). The WIIIIIIIILLLLLL-SOOOONNNN chant still echoes through the Mullins Center and we’re not entirely sure that his graduation is going to make it end. More recently, Maine drew the ire of the Minutefans when, during a UMass rout of the Black Bears early in the season, Maine’s Adam Shemansky took a big hit from Marty Nolet, played possum and laid motionless until he was carried off in a stretcher, and gave his teammates a reason to retaliate with cheap shots against Nolet – then the apparent theater major got up and played the next night completely unharmed. The fact that his name contains “she-man” is far from coincidental.
Derek hates Maine the most, since he has family from there and such.
University of Vermont
Although it will never stop being funny when a player – particularly a key player such as Stacey – has a girly last name, the Catamounts – relative newcomers to the Hockey East party – don’t really offend us much. The two teams tend to play some pretty tight, entertaining hockey games. Plus, how can we hate on the team Lowell inexplicably considers its biggest rival? Since the teams seem to play the last game before Thanksgiving every year, we actually admit there is a Pavlov’s dog effect of sorts, where the sheer mention of Kevin Sneddon’s name makes us start thinking about turkey and gravy.
Notably, their student section now hates us, as our first-ever pilgrimage to the Gutt ended in a 6-0 UMass win and an old lady informing us that it’s not classy to cheer for your team when you’re already winning. You know, as opposed to chanting “Fuck UMass” and “Dainton sucks donkey dick” and calling us “Massholes” (even though a) a third of your students are probably FROM Mass., and b) it’s a compliment for us). This negative experience is negated by the fact that Gutterson is a wonderful throwback hockey arena: small, chilly, and loud as hell. Make the trip, and for the love of Tim Thomas, make sure you stop in Waterbury at the Alchemist along the way. Best brewpub ever.
We’re pretty indifferent on PC, although we do kinda feel sympathy for a school in New England being run into the ground so thoroughly from a coaching perspective. We’re also disappointed that a better rivalry hasn’t developed between the schools, who I think could become pretty good basketball adversaries, especially if UMass ends up in the Big East someday. Providence is a wonderful little city though, with some great food and good concert venues like Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel. Max almost went to this school, and is glad he didn’t.
As a Boston-area school, the Huskies are a B-list draw for the masses at the Mullins, drawing a pretty good (and hostile) crowd. They also travel well, which we love to see (yes, even if it’s BU or BC). We really do love Huskies fans, though, despite their occasional rude behavior in the playoff games in 08-09. NU students, despite paying similarly exorbitant amounts, just seem a lot less full of themselves. And okay, we’ll just say it now: we love Matthews Arena. L-O-V-E it. Spectacular place to see a game.
I got a basketball jones, a basketball jones…
We here at Fight Mass (except Derek, who was disenfranchised with the beginning of the Derek Kellogg era) are also big fans of the basketball team, as you may have noticed. As a result, you’ll notice some basketball coverage on the page. Don’t be alarmed, we’re hockey diehards first and foremost. But here’s some miscellany about the basketball squad, because it’s our blog and we’re not obligated to follow things like “formats” and “logic.”
“Probably the number one thing that kept me here was the showing in New York from our fans. No question it made a difference,” said Ford. “I took my time in making the decision and I have no doubt this is the right one. This is the right place for me. I’m very excited; I’m going to give the team a week off and then we are right back to it.”
For the uninitiated, just read this, keeping in mind that less than one week later he signed his deal with Oklahoma State. (Notably, one of those letters he’s referring to was a lengthy ode from Max. We’ll publish that in the blog someday.) Well, whatever…he was 0-3 in A-10 tournament games as head coach of the Minutemen. Having plenty of success at OSU with guys he didn’t recruit.
The Valentine’s Day Massacre – Not really a “massacre” in the sense of a blowout loss, but it was far more damaging. Home loss on February 14th, 2008 to fucking Fordham of all schools, on national TV, which basically cost the Minutemen a trip to the NCAA tournament that year.
Leemire Goldwire – We prefer not to talk about the past. But never bring this guy up at the Bill, ever.
– UMass’s pseudo-archrival in the Atlantic 10. Ruining the Rams’ season is a UMass tradition three years running now. In 07-08, the Minutemen rallied down 7 in the waning minutes at the Ryan Center to drag the Rams with them to the NIT, effectively giving Rhody a Valentine’s Massacre of their own. The next year, this happened
, ruining URI’s senior night, providing a rare highlight for DK’s inaugural season, and making Matty Glass a legend to those few diehards who made the roadtrip. In 09-10, UMass’s huge rally fell short in the Ryan Center, but the Minutemen got revenge with a rare comeback win on their own senior night, yet again flattening Rhody’s tournament hopes. Now don’t get us wrong, the Ryan Center is a fantastic place to see a game. Fantastic.
Awesome atmosphere, great PA guy, rowdy fans, and designed to be reeeeeeally fucking loud. (To be fair, their football “stadium” is two vaguely-defined sets of bleachers adjacent to the arena.) But we take special pride in ruining their season year after year, and sticking it to their hockey-deprived fans.
This page is perpetually “under construction,” so check back in often.