From Baylor Lariat
By Kamri Alexander
Baylor club ice hockey received a lot of attention and excitement on campus at the beginning of the semester. After competing in just two series in the season, they have shown their league that they are a team to be taken seriously.
The team’s two-game opening series was against Texas Tech University. Baylor quickly proved that they were a force to be reckoned with by getting a series sweep, upsetting Tech in game one, 5-3, and game two, 8-2.
Their second series ended differently, taking back-to-back losses against the University of North Texas followed by a loss to Dallas Baptist University. However, what has been consistent for the team, win or lose, is the fans.
For the first game, one of the co-founder’s of the team, Flower Mound graduate student Blake Bonner, said that over 125 fans came out to support the team. He said it was an unreal experience seeing so many people support the team.
“We didn’t really know what to expect,” Bonner said. “You know the first period … I was just running around not even worried about hockey. I was just high on adrenaline from playing in front of a crowd of Baylor students.”
The fans show up and celebrate for the winning moments, but they’re dedicated to supporting this team even during tough times.
Distance doesn’t seem to stop Baylor fans either, despite their second series of games being played in Euless and Mansfield. Baylor’s section had more than 30 fans cheering the team on.
“Baylor fans are dedicated,” Austin junior and team photographer Logan Foust said. “We have the same amount of people in our stands as the other teams, which is really cool because it’s usually their home rinks and we’re showing up to support Baylor.”
Behind some of those fans is Valdez, Alaska senior Allie Steed who leads the Baylor Ice Girls, the team’s fan club. Steed is in charge of coordinating all things spirit and support for Baylor hockey. The Baylor Ice Girls have over 30 members and they’re all required to attend at least three games each season. There is no background knowledge of hockey needed to be a Baylor Ice Girl. There are girls in the fan club who grew up watching hockey while there are others who have never seen a game before. The qualifications aren’t to be an expert in hockey, but to be committed to supporting the team no matter the outcome of a game.
The Baylor Ice Girls and all other fans have an interesting challenge to overcome every week. The players can’t actually hear them on the ice due to the plexiglass around the ice rink. So to make sure the team feels supported and cheered on, the fans have to be incredibly visual and bring the intensity. Their methods hold true to the Baylor way with a “Sic ‘Em Bears” after every Baylor goal and cheering as loud as possible when the team enters the game and leaves the ice. Steed said the student section so far has been “electrifying.”
“It was amazing to see [the team’s] faces the first time they walked out to see all the student section that was there, and to be there when they won and got to see [their fan’s] faces,” Steed said. “I think just knowing they have a support system is going to carry them through losses.”
Foust not only gets to experience the energy of the fans, she also documents the team as their photographer. Foust said Baylor hockey and their fans are different from the teams they’ve played against.
“[Baylor has] stood out so far from other teams because before each game the [team] would get into a huddle after warming up and they’ll normally do a prayer or talk,” Foust said. “My favorite thing is that whenever they score, the players on the rink hug each other and high five, but then they go to the bench and the bench will form a line and [they’ll] high five … It’s cool seeing tough hockey players with smiles on their face.”
Baylor hockey is a tight-knit group that is always there to support each other, but they recognize the fans have a huge impact on their team and morale.
“Fans make a huge difference,” Bonner said. “There’s an advantage [to] having people in your corner rallying around you. When the team on the bench may be tired … but those fans are fresh, those fans are bringing energy and reminding us that we have more to play for.”
Baylor hockey is the second-most followed club hockey team in Texas with 2,257 followers, behind only Texas A&M University by 125 followers on Instagram.
Baylor hockey is looking forward to competing the rest of the season in their league, while having the support of Baylor fans behind them.
(Originally published at https://baylorlariat.com/2021/10/07/fans-support-baylor-hockey-as-they-debut-in-their-league/)