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RPI 2023-24 (Part II): The Search for Special Teams Excellence

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  • #46
    Originally posted by MikeMidd View Post

    It's about 15 minutes walk from the center of Union's campus to the Mohawk Harbor location. Long walk? Extreme edge of walking distance? It's basically the same as from the Quad, North Hall, etc., to the Field House at RPI.

    And players may well be more interested in playing in a brand new rink than turned off by that modest distance.

    As for examples, Duluth moved to an off-campus (by three miles) rink in 2010 and have done well since, Minnesota State plays off campus, etc. I don't think this is a death sentence for Union hockey.
    Thank you MikeMidd from, as I see, London in the UK (with little to no opportunity or ability to engage in personal on site observation) for making my point for me. Excluding a small handful of games over the past two seasons, like last weeks Freakout, when students were showered with massive amounts of free food, student presence at games has been virtually NONEXISTENT!!!

    Besides other goodies, there had to be at least one hundred boxes of free pizza stacked high on two folding tables. You may be half right. Students will apparently walk 15 minutes to gorge themselves in to absolute gluttony. However, walking 15 minutes for just a hockey game with no free food, apparently not a chance.

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    • #47
      Shuttle Busses!

      The distance from Union's campus to the (hypothetical) new arena is slightly longer than the quad at RPI to HFH, but the walk in Schenectady would require crossing Erie Boulevard, not a pedestrian-friendly situation. It would be nice to have a walkway above Erie and the rail tracks, but that costs money.

      What costs less money? Shuttle busses! Union already has a shuttle. Probably would need more on game days. Guess what? You can rent them! Set up a shuttle service on game days when school is in session.

      Ofttimes shuttles don't work, usually that is because there is no option other than the shuttle or driving. But in this case walking is possible, so missing a shuttle is not a crisis.

      Also, having the police handle traffic before & after games (they do this in Troy) would help pedestrian access.

      I don't see moving the games one mile away to a much better facility (still within walking distance) as an issue.

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      • #48
        This game against Q...is not going great. When the announcers are imploring RPI to just shoot from anywhere at the start of the third, the best strategy is clearly not being employed. Pretty light crowd for the #9 team in the country but it looks like a great arena.
        RPI 2010 ECACHL Champions

        http://rpihockey.blogspot.com

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        • #49
          Originally posted by RPIfanNYC View Post
          This game against Q...is not going great. When the announcers are imploring RPI to just shoot from anywhere at the start of the third, the best strategy is clearly not being employed. Pretty light crowd for the #9 team in the country but it looks like a great arena.
          Theirs the old RPI team we all come to love. Letting the other teams score touchdowns in hockey. The announcers mentioned a few times RPI has the worst pk in the country so qpac needs to take advantage of this. Qpac scored 2 on the pp lol. Light crowd cause who the hell wants to watch qpac beat up on the hapless engineers on a Saturday night.

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          • #50
            Originally posted by 25+years View Post
            I did not watch the game last night as I went to the women’s game instead. But looking at the box score it appears Watson kept them in the game facing 43 shots and giving up 3 goals whereas Princeton gave up 4 facing only 14 shots. I have to wonder what Watson will do? There are 14 seniors/ graduate students on this team. Will he stick around to see what the new recruits bring? Or enter the portal where he likely will be able to be a part of a team with a higher chance of success?
            If Watson has any sense he would leave to another team that doesn’t allow their goalie to be put under a ****ing firing squad every night. RPI was lucky to beat Princeton.You’re not going to score 4 goals on 14 shots many times in college hockey. Princeton dominated us for most of the game. They were unlucky basically.

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            • #51
              Originally posted by tony/troy View Post

              Thank you MikeMidd from, as I see, London in the UK (with little to no opportunity or ability to engage in personal on site observation) for making my point for me. Excluding a small handful of games over the past two seasons, like last weeks Freakout, when students were showered with massive amounts of free food, student presence at games has been virtually NONEXISTENT!!!

              Besides other goodies, there had to be at least one hundred boxes of free pizza stacked high on two folding tables. You may be half right. Students will apparently walk 15 minutes to gorge themselves in to absolute gluttony. However, walking 15 minutes for just a hockey game with no free food, apparently not a chance.
              Born and raised in Troy, spent my childhood and teen years going to a lot of RPI games, son of two RPI alumni, one of whom spent 30 years working there. While I'm far away now, it's not exactly unknown territory.

              Regardless, I agree fully that there seems to be a real problem attracting students. Free food works wonders, but so does winning hockey and a culture (and administration commitment) that makes hockey a premier sport, as has been discussed frequently here. Arguably Union getting a brand new rink shows that type of commitment.

              As Kurt said, presumably they'll have a policing set up to manage traffic and people. Could even be they do some basic upgrades along Nott Street and the traffic circle to improve the lighting and make it easier to navigate on foot.

              Anyway, the focus should be on what RPI needs to do. Starting point is surely to improve the results and to start to restore hockey's place as an important part of the student culture and community culture.

              Middlebury hockey - "In it to win it"

              1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2006 Men's DIII NCAA Champions
              2004, 2005, 2006 Women's DIII NCAA Champions, 2000, 2001 Women's DIII National Champions

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              • #52
                Originally posted by tony/troy View Post

                Sounds nice, but and no matter how nice, can anyone contribute anything to compiling the list of programs who enjoy sustained and consistent success playing home games in a facility in no way even remotely connected to the campus proper. In this case the rink would be on the VERY VERY extreme edge of walking distance and that would be both ways. Not exactly a strong student drawing card on cold and windy winter nights.

                If a program can be redefined by building a rink on a river that makes going to a game a long walk for students then great!!! Troy has a riverfront too.
                I don't have any strong feelings one way or the other. As Ken Schott mentioned in his article, Union's rink is widely out of date, out of code and lacks even basic creature comforts. Also, he pointed out that even if you found a spot for a new on-campus rink, you still have not addressed the absolute absence of parking. They barely have enough parking for the players and refs.

                Higher education in the northeast is under siege by the demographic low tide. Union gets the benefit of a brand new facility without paying for it entirely on their own. They can spread the fiscal pain out over the years through their lease payments.

                My point in bringing this matter up was to point out that we should be hearing something the RPI admin regarding the Field House study that they kicked off shortly after Marty arrived.
                ""Ralph is the Chuck Norris of this board. Ralph doesnt sleep he just waits." - fishcore12

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                • #53
                  As a follow up to my previous post, if the HFH study concludes that a new rink is warranted, then what ? Do you bite the bullet and play/practice at an alternate site for a year + while you build a new rink on the HFH footprint, or do you build on a new site? Where ? Discuss .... LOL
                  Last edited by Wicked Slappaahs; 02-18-2024, 10:35 AM.
                  ""Ralph is the Chuck Norris of this board. Ralph doesnt sleep he just waits." - fishcore12

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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Engineers View Post

                    If Watson has any sense he would leave to another team that doesn’t allow their goalie to be put under a ****ing firing squad every night. RPI was lucky to beat Princeton.You’re not going to score 4 goals on 14 shots many times in college hockey. Princeton dominated us for most of the game. They were unlucky basically.
                    Agree about Watson. If he has an advisor, I'm sure that's being whispered in his ear. I worry about Muzzati because Preds could take him out of here and plug in the AHL because of physical frame and not want him to continue to be a part of losing culture.
                    "Rick not want to be know as tough guy, Rick want to be known as team guy" Rick "Mongo" Bennett

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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by AspyDad View Post

                      Agree about Watson. If he has an advisor, I'm sure that's being whispered in his ear. I worry about Muzzati because Preds could take him out of here and plug in the AHL because of physical frame and not want him to continue to be a part of losing culture.
                      Sadly, I don't think anyone should expect either of these two to return next year.
                      ""Ralph is the Chuck Norris of this board. Ralph doesnt sleep he just waits." - fishcore12

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                      • #56
                        With four games remaining:

                        -RPI has allowed 122 GA
                        -4.07 goals allowed per game
                        -Dead last in PK (68.75%)
                        -40 PK goals allowed

                        As scary as these numbers are, they'd be embarrassingly worse if Watson hadn't stood on his head on many nights.

                        Where do folks think this leads us when the dust settles in March ? Do Marty and the A.D. run it back with Smitty ? I don't know how I can stomach another season like this. As others have pointed out, we'll have a turnover of 12 or so players...even if the skill level rises, that's a lot of new faces to incorporate. I can tolerate losing if there is learning and growth happening....but that isn't happening with this squad. They have absolutely NO idea how to defend in whatever system Smith is asking them to run.
                        ""Ralph is the Chuck Norris of this board. Ralph doesnt sleep he just waits." - fishcore12

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Wicked Slappaahs View Post
                          As a follow up to my previous post, if the HFH study concludes that a new rink is warranted, then what ? Do you bite the bullet and play/practice at an alternate site for a year + while you build a new rink on the HFH footprint, or do you build on a new site? Where ? Discuss .... LOL
                          The current footprint would probably make the most sense, if only because space for a new site on that side of Burdett Ave seems to be limited (although there is space north of the football stadium, toward Detroit Ave).

                          In hindsight, it seems a new Field House could have been wrapped in as part of the overall ECAV project - a whole new complex for football, basketball, and hockey. Maybe that was cost-prohibitive or just not feasible at the time (2007-9).

                          If the current footprint is utilized, then an alternate site will have to be identified - for at least one season. When UNH built the Whittemore Center to replace Snively Arena (a true "barn" in every sense of the word) in the mid-90s, they split "home" games between a municipal rink in Manchester, NH and what was then the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, ME (approx. an hour from Durham). For HFH, any alternate site would need a decent amount of seating, so that eliminates many of the smaller local rinks (Frear Park, Albany County Hockey Facility, etc). MVP Arena comes to mind as a possibility.

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by vicious View Post

                            The current footprint would probably make the most sense, if only because space for a new site on that side of Burdett Ave seems to be limited (although there is space north of the football stadium, toward Detroit Ave).

                            In hindsight, it seems a new Field House could have been wrapped in as part of the overall ECAV project - a whole new complex for football, basketball, and hockey. Maybe that was cost-prohibitive or just not feasible at the time (2007-9).

                            If the current footprint is utilized, then an alternate site will have to be identified - for at least one season. When UNH built the Whittemore Center to replace Snively Arena (a true "barn" in every sense of the word) in the mid-90s, they split "home" games between a municipal rink in Manchester, NH and what was then the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, ME (approx. an hour from Durham). For HFH, any alternate site would need a decent amount of seating, so that eliminates many of the smaller local rinks (Frear Park, Albany County Hockey Facility, etc). MVP Arena comes to mind as a possibility.
                            Agreed that a new build on the HFH footprint would be the best. There are no great alternate sites. MVP is cavernous and RPI would need to defer to Siena basketball scheduling. ..so there would certainly be conflicts where RPI would need to play many road games and some home games in a band box somewhere. UAlbany basketball suffered through a similar scenario last year, playing their home games at HVCC and practicing in a makeshift court that was laid over what used to be the UA pool. Short term pain....
                            ""Ralph is the Chuck Norris of this board. Ralph doesnt sleep he just waits." - fishcore12

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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Wicked Slappaahs View Post
                              With four games remaining:

                              -RPI has allowed 122 GA
                              -4.07 goals allowed per game
                              -Dead last in PK (68.75%)
                              -40 PK goals allowed

                              As scary as these numbers are, they'd be embarrassingly worse if Watson hadn't stood on his head on many nights.

                              Where do folks think this leads us when the dust settles in March ? Do Marty and the A.D. run it back with Smitty ? I don't know how I can stomach another season like this. As others have pointed out, we'll have a turnover of 12 or so players...even if the skill level rises, that's a lot of new faces to incorporate. I can tolerate losing if there is learning and growth happening....but that isn't happening with this squad. They have absolutely NO idea how to defend in whatever system Smith is asking them to run.
                              I think there's still one wild card in the deck - what, if any, kind of run this team makes in the post-season. Is it one-and-out, or do they surprise us? I'm not expecting any miracles, given the stats you cite, but something unexpected in the post season would be an important consideration.

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                              • #60
                                I would think one scenario is they conclude this feasibility study in a few months and decide a new rink is in order. Announce 24-25 is the last year of the Field House and begin to make their engineering plans. Play 25-26 season at MVP arena while building on the site of the HFH, and then hopefully it is ready for opening night 2026. Maybe I am being too aggressive with my timeline but that would be basically March 2025 to October 2026 to get it ready. Could take one more season, or could be a scenario like Sacred Heart last year, where you open up. new arena in the middle of the year

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