On December 31, 2016 I had the chance to see the Fighting Hawks take on Union College at Achilles Center in Schenectady, NY. North Dakota won the game 3-1 over Union. This post will allude to the game but focus on the home rink Union plays in, and some fun observations.
- This is the smallest rink I have seen in some time. It seats a little over 2,000 fans and is set up in a very intimate fashion. You are right on top of the action the entire game, and can even stand right behind either goal. The standing room view for UND warm ups was superb.
- This rink does not have replay boards. When you visit this rink, as every hockey fan should, you need to be watching the play at all times. Many fans missed UND scoring the first goal of the game just eleven seconds after the opening faceoff.
- Union fans are some of the most knowledgeable and nicest people I have met. Every group of fans either provided fun chirping or was genuinely happy to see UND fans in the area. Cam Johnson even laughed at some nice heckling by a group of fans. Union holds a special place in my heart for vanquishing the Gophers in the 2014 Championship. I think many Union fans feel the same way about UND for ending Quinnipiac’s run last spring.
- Union fans also asked a lot of questions about me and fellow UND fans seeing their rink and UND play. The UND contingent was loud and vocal but was very respectful. Union genuinely enjoyed having UND there and I did not see a single negative fan despite the result. Every hockey fan needs to see a game at the Achilles Center in their lives. It is on of the mot intimate and unique hockey viewing experiences I have had.