Editorial: More blue than gold: Why C-Block should lead the charge

The Canisius College men’s hockey team made its second season debut on HARBORCENTER ice this past Friday. According to GoGriffs.com, attendance reached 1,711 fans, filling the majority of the still-new facility which has a capacity of 1,800. Yet, a notable set of voices was absent.

The C-Block contingent.

Joe Rutigliano’s aggressive affection and loud (an understatement) disposition left Andrew Sciblia as the gold and blue blood heir apparent and leader of C-Block, and yet the absence of the Mr. Canisius contestant was augmented by his successor’s as well.

This paper wonders why.

Last year on Halloween, thousands (two, to be exact) of Griff fans made their way to the HARBORCENTER for our first game on the new ice, a venerable effort on the part of many of Canisius students and alumni. C-Block, of course, led the charge, the cheers, and the chastisements of the other team, referees, and anyone who dare utter words against the Golden Griffins.

This year, the Griffs, defeated by five goals, were missing their biggest sect of support. Canisius has been heralded as lacking school spirit in a variety of capacities, but hockey is supposed to at least be one of the most popular, particularly since basketball has not yet started. C-Block is supposed to refute such claims, loudly, consistently, and potentially while chanting, repeatedly pledging fealty to the Griffs and vowing to build the student section with their bare hands.

This paper recognizes that it was a long weekend, but it also holds that this is one of C-Block’s signature events, held truely but once a year, and hockey provides half the lifeblood of all Buffalo sports. What is Canisius but Buffalo in micro, basketball replacing the Bills? Where was the support for the popular games of the season?

Hockey, this paper believes, gives Buffalo an ability to own its winters, refuting those who would “never move here because of the snow” because it flourishes in the cold. Kids grow up with the idea of hockey on ice, have a team to watch and support, and can grow as players themselves. There’s something about the sounds of the First Niagara or even HARBORCENTER, the skates scraping ice, spinning and turning, the sound of stick on puck, even the smell of spilled beer around the stands.

It’s an active sport, shaking off the frozen bones of winter. There’s nothing like desperately yelling at a player while holding a container of nachos, arms gesturing angrily, letting the cheese slip from its container to blend into the gold of your shirt (perhaps that’s why the Sabres went with blue and gold and chose to sell nachos; it works together). College hockey doesn’t provide as many fights, which, overall, is absolutely better for the environment, especially at home games. No one wants to see Shane Conacher take a right hook to the face, but his brother, the NHL supposes, is fair game. It’s entertaining, and, almost speaking to the multitasking mood of millennials, a boxing match, hockey game, and test of wills all at once.

Buffalo’s cracked the equation for hockey, at least from a social point of view. The Sabres may not be the best team in National Hockey League this season (though hopes are high as the season begins). There’s a reason Admissions will occasionally send prospective students to Sabres games; it’s a venerable sampler of all things Buffalo: wings, beef on weck, hockey, and blue and gold. The only thing missing is the Bills, but even they aren’t right in downtown, outside Canisius’ domain. A number of our students are interning with the Sabres, and so it’s a touchpoint of opportunity as well. Canisius is Buffalo and Buffalo is us. “You can,” and all that.

With our own season starting, and this paper thinks it’s important to see both together, the Sabres and Griffs come together as one: as Buffalo. It’s nice to know that so many Canisius alums translate into Sabres fans if they aren’t already, and that Buffalo will always have your back with its blue and gold.

So let’s love our blue and gold now while we have our own student section because it’s uniquely ours. We definitely aren’t blaming C-Block for our loss last weekend, but we would like to see them next week against Bowling Green.

Oh, and everyone else too.

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