By Richard Larson, Opinion Editor
Winning isn’t everything. After being defeated at our very first Frozen Four, it’s difficult to stand behind that concept if you were watching the Mavericks take on Providence. However, if you were one of the lucky students who traveled to Boston, then you understand the gravity of this past weekend.
In recent years, UNO has been re-inventing itself. Implementing new logos and marketing, making the move to Division-1 athletics, setting goals for enrollment, improving campus facilities and further developing award-winning programs have all contributed to the unstoppable momentum UNO is charging the nation with.
Most importantly, the greatest effort UNO has put forth is its dedication to being a student-centered university. This could not be more apparent with the way this past weekend was handled.
It says a lot when your university provides the opportunity to travel nearly 1,500 miles to support a team that has seen unprecedented success this year.
For just $250, I was able to travel to Boston to cheer on our Mavericks with more than 100 other students. I will tell you this trip was worth far beyond that cost.
The trip included bus fare, several meals, tickets to all three games, admittance to a pre-game party hosted by the UNO Alumni Association and the chance to explore the historic city of Boston. Still, it is hard to put a price tag on what students left this trip with.
Personally, this weekend was perhaps the greatest memory I will have in my college career at UNO. Opportunities like this do not happen easily. It is with an overwhelming sense of gratitude and respect that I, along with my peers who attended this trip, thank all those who made this possible.
My favorite part of the entire experience was when our Mav army arrived at the Frozen Fest pep rally. There we were, halfway across the country, representing our city and university. I saw a great deal of pride on the faces around me. There was an energy radiating throughout our group that could never be repeated. We were an unbreakable force to be reckoned with, and nothing could come close to the feeling of that moment.
The cheerleaders and Durango took the stage with the band and we were sure to let the NCAA know that we meant business. Immediately following, we took to the streets of Boston. The band was going nuts and our iconic chants filled the alleys and intersections on our way to the pre-game party. Led by Chancellor John Christensen, we geared up for our hockey program’s most pivotal game ever.
Among many supporters, this could not have been possible without several key people. Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs Dr. B.J. Reed, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Dr. Dan Shipp, Executive Director for University Communications Erin Owen and Senior Associate Athletic Director Josh White were instrumental in making this dream become a reality for so many.
Special recognition must be given to Senior Director for Student Involvement Bill Pickett for his legendary service to this university. He has been relentless in changing school spirit this year and continues to evolve the involvement land–scape at UNO.
Honorable mentions to Senior Director of Wellness Joe Kaminski, Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards Dr. Philip Covington and Spirit Coordinator for Student Involvement Kelsey McAlpine for ensuring the safety and success of the overall trip. Lastly, special thanks to Lee Denker and the UNO Alumni Association, MavPuck, MavRadio and all the fans who supported the hockey team from home.
To students, I say this: believe in your university and take pride in where you come from. To UNO administrators: please continue to serve the student body and community in the remarkable and innovative manner in which you always have.
The opening of our new arena is just months away. The result of next year’s season may be unknown, but our passion for excellence remains constant. Let this adventure become a tradition, as we look to next year’s NCAA Frozen Four.
Fight on, Mavericks. Fight on.