Joey Hall Club Hockey vs. UNC-Chapel Hill

Senior goalie Joey Hall and the NC State Ice Hockey team shake hands after the game against UNC-Chapel Hill at PNC Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 23. Hall shutout the Tar Heels, helping the Icepack to win 5-0.

On Jan. 20, the NC State Hockey club, known as the Icepack, will play against North Carolina at PNC Arena. The first game against the Tar Heels had a good turnout, but fan support for the Icepack should be much bigger.

The first game against the Tar Heels in the fall season was for the Governor’s Cup, also held in PNC, and the governor attended. The Wolfpack won that game 8-6 after a huge offensive start. The Tar Heels started to come back, but could not break the Icepack lead.

I attended this exciting game with a few of my friends, who insisted it was worth it. My first thoughts were, “It’s a club hockey team; how exciting can it be?”

I was pleasantly surprised, as I got to experience the UNC-NCSU rivalry firsthand and watch my favorite sport. The players competed with passion, the fans were ecstatic, and the game came pretty close towards the end.

The experience and energy in the arena were both hostile and fun. The rivalry atmosphere was there, and constant chants came from both teams. However, it was still lighthearted, as there were no fights on the ice or in the stands.

This game should be a bigger deal on campus and in the NC State sports world. The excitement and lighthearted rivalry between the Pack and the Heels make a hockey game just as exciting as many of our university’s flagship programs.

Hockey is an exciting sport already, with plenty of big hits, fast action and intense rivalries. It’s also not the most popular sport; it is rarer to find a hockey junky, or even a true fan that keeps up with the game in this part of the country. However, bringing a friend to the Governor’s Cup or the game next week will introduce them to the sport.

Sure, the game is not as exciting as the NHL playoffs, where you will find thousands of screaming fans rooting for their teams. With college hockey, you are actually a part of the atmosphere, and you’d better believe I was screaming for the Wolfpack when I went.

I encourage anyone to attend the hockey game at PNC. The absolute best part and the main selling point: It’s free!