Program Profile #5 – The University of Maine

**This post will appear permanently in my BF Program Profile Page**

University of Maine –

  •  Esteemed Maine Bloggers to follow – ????
  • Twitter sources for Maine Hockey- @MaineIceHockey
  • The Rink and Facilities : Alfond Arena
  • Famous Hockey Alumni – Paul Kariya, Garth Snow, Jimmy Howard
  • Famous Alumni (Non- Hockey) –  Steven King (Author), Lawrence Bender (Film Producer- Good Will Hunting/Pulp Fiction), Ashley Underwood (Survivor : Redemption Island)
  • My Biased Opinion  on <Tradition, BF Rank #3Discounting two fragmented seasons in 1922 and 1923, the Black Bear program was introduced in 1977 (ECAC Conference), the same year its legendary rink (Alfond Arena) was constructed. When one envisions the Maine program, there is one antagonistic character that comes to mind, Shawn Walsh – whose villainous personality is without a doubt synonymous with Maine Hockey. THE Maine program was born with the hiring of Walsh, a ragtag, 3rd string goalie from Bowling Green, who rose from obscurity rather quickly in Orono. When rating the tradition of a college hockey program there are three facets to consider that are paramount to everthing else; 1) Hardware -NCAA and League Titles, 2) An acclaimed resume of NHL alumni, and 3) A Historic barn with a wealth of character. The Black Bears have can undoubtedly check off all three facets in a resounding manner. Maine’s Trophy Case: been to the NCAA touney 17 times in the past 23 years including 11 Frozen Four appearances and 2 NCCA crowns, 6 Hockey East Championships and 4 Regular season titles. The 1993 NCAA title team was the best team in college hockey history and finished with an unfathomable 42-1-2 record. The names of famous alumni just roll off your tongue- Paul Kariya, Garth Snow, The Ferraro brother, Jimmy Howard, Jean Yves-Roy, Chris Imes…if I keep going I may just change my tradition rank to #1. It is nice to see that more American kids are finding a spot on the roster these days as the squads of the 80’s and early 90’s were littered with Canadiens. <Fanbase, BF Rank #2> There is not a program in the league that has a more spirited fanbase of locals than Maine. Orono is a 100 miles from nowhere and growing up I envisioned the campus in a scene that probably most closely resembled the North Pole. Much like many of the big football powers in the southern and midwestern sections of the US, the Maine hockey program IS THE SHOW in Orono as there isn’t a pro sports franchise in close proximity to compete.  The Black Bear faithful are indeed an eclectic mix but certainly meld together quite well as Alfond is an intimidating place to play to say the least; whether it be a stereotypical Maine-(iac) clad in overalls and passionately ringing a cow bell or an inibriated member of the student section taking out his anger -wouldn’t you be angry if you were stuck in Orono for 4 years; the Maine fanbase is indeed something to be reckoned with.<The Barn, BF Rank #1> I am an admitted sucker for anything “old school” and it although it was built in 1974, Alfond has all of the unique and nostalgic qualities that I admire  in an old barn. The balcony virtually overhangs the ice surface (in an old Boston Garden kinda way) with a loud and boisterous band cranking those all familiar college hockey tunes. The success of the late 80’s/early 90’s Maine squads provided the impetus behind the reconstruction of Alfond that was completed in 1992, increasing the capacity to a perfect level of 5,641. Modern amenities, although sparse, are present to some degree which gives Alfond a nice blend between old and new with a definite skew towards old. <The Campus, BF Rank #8> As I mentioned earlier, Orono is 100 miles from nowhere. One could argue that most big time schools, whether it be UMASS, Penn State, Oklahoma or even Notre Dame are also in rural areas as well. Maine doesn’t have the the campus or big time college feel that these others do and lacks the gravitas of some of these larger institutions. The town seems very bland and commercial to me and lacks the quiant feel of most New England college towns.That said, UMaine is the flagship university of a fairly large state and its 60 acre campus is vast and somewhat expansive. Like most stereotypical New England institutions, it does have some historical buildings that date back to its origins, 1865. Like some of the uber urban campuses (or lack thereof) like BU and NU, Maine does have a fairly picturesque layout with some history mixed in to boot.
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