Stefanie Marty '11, a native of Switzerland, is fluent in English and Swiss German—but when she's on the ice with her UNH teammates, all she needs to know is the universal language of "cowbell." That distinctive repetitive clanging in the stands at Wildcats' women's hockey games always sends an unmistakable message of support: "Go! Go! Go!"
To be sure, the crowd for the men's brand of hockey is larger than the women's, regularly selling out the Whitt's 6,501 seats. Average attendance at women's games is a much smaller—but vociferously loyal—843. "Would we like a big crowd? Sure, but the crowd we do have is the best," says women's hockey head coach Brian McCloskey. "The men bring much more attention to the sport of hockey, so it's a win-win for us, because that brings attention to the women's side as well."
The women's varsity hockey program (20-3-0 overall, 10-0-1 in Hockey East) has been growing exponentially in talent every year, McCloskey says. "I'm literally overwhelmed at the progress I've seen in athletes year to year," he says. "I've been here six years and there is no question the athletic bar keeps rising."
Last fall, McCloskey ran into some former players who had been seniors when he first started coaching. They were wowed by the talent and skill they saw on the ice, wondering aloud if they could ever keep up. "They were half serious," he says, "when they thanked their lucky stars that they played when they did."Return to UNH Magazine Campus Currents