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The Ultimate College Hockey Fan: A Quest to See Every D-I College Hockey Rink

Tom Walsh@ThosJWalshContributor IApril 8, 2011

DETROIT - APRIL 10:  The Wisconsin Badgers huddle around their goalie before the game against the Boston College Eagles during the championship game of the 2010 NCAA Frozen Four on April 10, 2010 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

There are college hockey fans.  There are big college hockey fans.  And then there is Steve Glazewski of Dayton, Ohio.

He’s a 1984 graduate of the University of Wisconsin, one of the traditional college hockey powers.  And he received his Masters from Miami University, one of college hockey’s up-and-coming elites.

So what makes Steve college hockey’s biggest fan?  It started, believe it or not, while Steve was watching Monday Night Football sometime back in the 1990’s.

As Steve recalls, “I remember watching Monday Night Football when the announcers mentioned some quest by two NFL fans to visit every NFL stadium for a game in one season (which necessitated attending MNF games and Thursday/Saturday games late in the season).  I thought it would be cool to see what it would take to do that with college hockey.   Back then the teams were different, but there were still  roughly  50 of them.  The fact that almost all college hockey games are played on Friday and Saturday nights made that almost impossible (unless I hit the lottery and could quit work for a year).  But the idea of visiting them all stayed in my mind.”

It stayed in Steve’s mind until January, 2003 when he heard that Fairfield University would be dropping college hockey at the end of that season.  Steve decided that he “had” to see the Stags last game, and when he found out that Fairfield’s last home game was on March 8, 2003 against Iona (who, ironically, would announce that very next week that they, too, were dropping college hockey, effective immediately), his quest was about to begin.

As Steve describes it, “I loaded my daughter into the car and drove from Dayton to Philadelphia to pick up a grad school friend of mine, then drove to Bridgeport, CT to the municipal rink called the Wonderland of Ice where Fairfield U played their home games, then back to Philly to overnight with my friend, then back to Dayton on Sunday.”  Quite a trip, and it was only the beginning.

Almost 8 years—and over 60 rinks—later, Steve completed his quest when he traveled to Lowell, Massachusetts on February 19, 2011 and watched Maine defeat U Mass-Lowell 3-0 at the Tsongas Center, his final destination on his college hockey odyssey.

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In total, Steve has seen 62 teams play on their home ice, including three teams—Findlay (Ohio), Wayne State (Michigan), and Fairfield (Connecticut)—that are now defunct.  He’s seen NCAA D-I hockey games at 71 different sites, including sites for the NCAA tournament, “old” sites for Wisconsin (Dane County Coliseum before the Kohl Center) and Miami (Goggin Ice Center before Steve Cady Arena), and sites formerly used for men’s D-I programs that are now used by the women’s D-I programs (OSU Ice Rink for Ohio State and Walter Brown Arena for Boston University).

As to Steve’s favorite moments from his journey, a couple come to mind. 

Although he tried to avoid games where his alma mater, Wisconsin, was the visitor in order to enjoy the experience of rooting for the home team, there was one instance where “convenience trumped opponent.”

As Steve tells it, “I did attend one game where Wisconsin was the visitor—versus St. Cloud State (MN) at their rink, the National Hockey Center.  Most fans pan the NHC as a dive (by the standards of other rinks in the Western College Hockey Association).  But I was there when a substantial Wisconsin contingent came across the border.  The game was a sell-out; SCSU had a very good team that year, and Wisconsin was on a hot streak.  The atmosphere was absolutely electric!  Huge numbers of SCSU and UW students turned out.  Apparently the entire SCSU pep band showed up (versus, I guess, normally about half).  So that was one of my best experiences (despite Wisconsin losing).”

And in the early years of his journey, Steve often took his daughter along, saying “The first few years of my quest were also mini-vacations where my daughter and I could spend time together—the trips were as much about ‘together time’ as they were the hockey.”

Now retired from the Air Force Reserve with 11 ½ years active duty and 11 ½ years drilling Reserves, Steve still works for the Air Force as a Federal Civilian Employee teaching at the Air Force Institute of Technology.

Steve never played hockey above intramurals, and counts himself as an avid fan of both the Men’s and Women’s teams at University of Wisconsin. Given his successful eight year quest to see every Division I college hockey rink in America, we can think of one term that best describes Steve: The Ultimate College Hockey Fan.

This article originally appeared in Tom Walsh's blog at The Ultimate Sports List.