A selection of UMass Lowell’s game worn hockey jerseys. (Matt Dwyer/Connector)
Having been ranked top 12 in average attendance for over five consecutive seasons, the UMass Lowell men’s ice hockey team has drawn more than their fair share of audiences. Throughout the seasons, the Tsongas Center has seen more than a handful of standing room only, maximum-capacity games. With every massive crowd, a touted student fan section arrives at every game. At times they arrive an hour or more in advance, always sporting their River Hawk hockey apparel.
One cannot discuss hockey apparel without focusing in on jerseys. Ice hockey has been known since its beginnings in the U.S. and Canada for its colorful, spectacularly designed jerseys.
The UMass Lowell jerseys are no different. Having changed numerous times over the years, the various River Hawk jerseys are always sharp, unique and well-received by the student body. In fact, they are some of the River Hawk Shop’s best-sellers year in and year out.
The four jerseys on sale for the 2017-18 season are no exception. In Friday’s home opener against the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Wildcats, the Tsongas Center was filled with a crowd of 5,426, many of them students sporting their colors.
Currently on sale at the River Hawk Shop are the white home and blue away jerseys, both complete with “UMass Lowell” stitched to the chest, the matte grey Alternate jersey, adorned with the River Hawk logo on the chest, and the newest addition, the white 50th Anniversary “Lowell” jersey.
With the spectacular variety, there is a jersey to fit every fan’s style; some students even have more than one. In taking one glance at the River Hawk fan section, it is plain to see that the students love to throw their favorite jersey on and head to the Tsongas, but with several options and such a wide spread, which authentic, replica jersey is the fan favorite?
“My favorite is the gray alternate jersey. I wish [the team] wore them more,” says senior computer engineering student Grayson Colwell.
Despite only being worn in a handful of games each year, the River Hawk Shop is always well stocked with the alternatejersey. The appeal may have something to do with the presence of the River Hawk on the chest instead of lettering, but some students are not convinced they are all that special.
“I love the blue jerseys… because they aren’t gray,” says Andrew MacGregor, a senior computer science major.
“I see most people wearing the blue and red jerseys. I think it’s because they pop the most. They’re the most flashy,” says Colwell.
Despite varying opinions on which jerseys stuck out most or were worn most, the massive fan section at the home opener Friday seemed undecided. No specific jersey seemed to be worn far more than another, and regardless of which jerseys students choose to wear out to the Tsongas, they are always showing their River Hawk pride.