The 25,000 or so motorists who drive up and down Erie Boulevard each day will get a reminder of just who is the top-seeded team heading into this week’s NCAA men’s hockey Frozen Four.
City and county officials and business leaders joined representatives from Union College, including hockey coach Rick Bennett, in unveiling a “GO UNION” banner Monday morning on the pedestrian walkway over Erie Boulevard near North Jay Street.
“It’s an exciting time for the city of Schenectady,” Mayor Gary McCarthy said. “It’s a great week for Union College.”
The Chamber of Schenectady County also unveiled Dutchmen hockey window posters that will be distributed to local businesses.
Union, ranked No. 1 in the country, will play in the national semifinal against Boston College at 5 p.m. Thursday (televised on ESPN2). The championship game will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (on ESPN).
Bennett said the local fan base plays a role in the hockey team’s success and motivation.
“Every time these guys put on a jersey, they are playing for their school, they are playing for themselves, the team and program, but most importantly they are playing for this community,” he said. “We can’t thank the people enough for supporting us around here.
College President Stephen C. Ainlay took the opportunity to praise the hockey team not just for its accomplishments on the ice, but also for its strength in the classroom and community.
“I couldn’t be prouder of what they’ve accomplished, and what they represent,” he said.
Those not making the trip to Philadelphia can watch the game at a free viewing party Thursday at Union’s Messa Rink. Doors open at 4 p.m., and the first 1,000 people will receive a Union boom stick.