New men’s ice hockey head coach Norm Bazin is returning to a very different UMass Lowell than the one he played for from 1990 to 1994 and worked for as an assistant coach from 1996 to 2000.
New programs, facility improvements and partnerships have led to a stronger institution, and now he has an opportunity to strengthen a young hockey team into the champions he knows they can be. It will take time, but the team and staff are all in for the long haul.
“We’re still getting to know each other,” says Bazin of his team. “I think they’re getting to know what my expectations are for them and, more importantly, I’m starting to learn what they’re capable of — so it’s been a good combination.”
The River Hawks, rebuilding after a disappointing 2010-2011 season are ready to wow fans with their new players, facilities and game extras sure to get the stands roaring.
To kick off the home season with style, the office of Student Activities and Leadership is partnering with Aramark to host a "Break the Record" rally on East Campus from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 28. Free activities, including the dodgeball tournament, tailgate party and free ticket giveaways will get fans ready for action before heading to the game at 7 p.m. For more information, contact Scott_Donnelly@uml.edu
Expanding the Ranks
With 20 returning players, a loss of only five graduates and 12 new players joining the roster, the River Hawks will build upon a more experienced team this season. The team has also hired Devan McConnell for the newly created position of Director of Sports Performance. Bazin says that McConnell’s weight room expertise will help younger players “get stronger and more agile so that when they get on the ice they can produce more.”
The team has already proven they can work together, sweeping Minnesota State in their opening games. A tough overtime loss to the University of Connecticut Huskies brought their record to 2-1-0 for the season, but the team will regroup over an extended break before taking on Boston College at home.
$5 Million in Renovations
Fans will watch the game in style as they enjoy several major improvements to the arena, which was recently featured in Athletics Administration magazine’s 2011 Facilities Showcase edition. The $5 million in renovations include new chillers under the ice to improve surface quality, seamless boards to provide clear views from any seat and additional vendors to keep the fans hungry only for hockey.
“We want to get more fans to the games, make a better fan experience and, more importantly, a better student experience for our athletes,” says Bazin.
Flying For the Fans
River Hawk fans have many fun extras to look forward to this season. New attendees attracted by the popular “Refer-a-Friend” season ticket holder program are sure to keep the seats packed for home games and theme nights will keep fans coming back for more.
Theme night highlights include:
Oct. 28: ‘90s Night vs. Boston College
- Intramural Dodgeball Finals during first intermission
- Schedule Poster Giveaway
- Sponsored by Fred C. Church
: Kids' Day vs. Alabama Huntsville
Post-Game Skate with the River Hawks
Jan. 20: Pucks and Paws Night vs. Northeastern
- Adoptable dogs in the main lobby from the Lowell Humane Society
- Ceremonial puck drop with the Lowell Police Department K9 Unit
- Special Appearances by Clifford the Big Red Dog, Martha and Biscuit
Feb. 10: University Night vs. Merrimack
Feb. 11: Country Fest vs. Maine
Special Performance by Nashville recording artist, Chelmsford's own Jilly Martin
Feb. 25: Star Wars Night vs. Merrimack
Special Appearance by the 501st New England Garrison
For a complete listing, visit the UMass Lowell River Hawks website
. Tickets can be purchased at the Tsongas Center Box Office. Fans can also purchase tickets online at www.TsongasCenter.com
or by calling 866-722-8780. The Box Office is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.