Remote home rink influences fan turnout

By: Lili Romann ’19

As their 5-1-1 record, as of Jan. 11, carries through, “Superfans” passionately and persistently attend Staples boys’ hockey games at their home rink in Milford, Connecticut. Roughly 17 miles away from Staples High School, the team’s base attracts many Staples fans willing to make the commute.

“I really enjoy spending time at the rink as I love the team and love the sport,” Jacob Maged ’18, team manager and former player said. “The home games show decent support, but it could be a little better.”

Maged attributes the reluctance fans have to traveling to Milford as the extended distance the rink is from Westport as well as the winter weather. Hockey players enjoy a populous crowd as it grants them greater motivation to succeed.

“Moving to a closer rink would obviously help, but that is not realistic,” Luke Welch ’19 said. “I think fan turnout will naturally increase as we get better because the games become more exciting, just as it did my freshman year when we went to the state finals.”

Many students are almost completely turned off from attending games despite their love for their peers on the team as well of the excitement of the hockey.

“Last year I made the commute pretty often,” Samantha Pacilio ’19 said. “The games are always a blast, but sometimes the drive just isn’t worth it when I have homework and things to do on the school-nights that they have games, which is pretty often.”

An alternate reasoning provided for fans’ reluctance to commute to the rink four towns away is also their game schedule, more specifically regarding the timing.

“I think that when we had games at three in the afternoon, we got a bigger fan turnout than the games at eight,” Chris Avena, Staples boys’ hockey coach said. “So, potentially securing more of those ice times would lead to many more fans coming.”

Some teachers have found it intriguing to drop by the rink to see their students partake in their passions outside of the classroom, as their commute may not be as strenuous.

The Ice Pavilion is a few blocks away from my house in Milford, so, more recently I was able to drop by the rink and see some of my students,” Louisa D’Amore, Italian teacher, said. “I brought along my kids who have a blast coming to Staples sports games. They really look up to my students as role models.”

The Staples Hockey team looks to gain an even larger crowd in the postseason than they did last year when they just missed the playoffs, their record being 5-14-1, and moved up from Division III to Division II. They are currently still in Division II.

“The turnout will increase once the team goes into postseason,” Meghan Johnson ’18 said. “This year the team is aiming to make it to the championship again, so once postseason comes I feel like more people will come out.”