The student section
The brand new Baxter Arena will have a dedicated student section. Believe it or not, this is a relatively recent development at UNO Hockey. When the team first played at the Civic Auditorium, there was no room for students. None.
Not until several years into the team’s residence at the CenturyLink Center did UNO install a student section. Your predecessors took up the challenge and have built a magnificent tradition of unglued and outrageous behavior. You are an heir to, and a steward of, what has gone before. You’re very important to this program.
The Red Army
It’s a long story, and you don’t need to know it all, but a group of self-identified nut jobs has called itself The Red Army since Thanksgiving 2002, back when the team played at the Omaha Civic Auditorium. We consider ourselves guardians of tradition and ambassadors for UNO Hockey and all Maverick sports.
Traditionally, The Red Army works clean: We don’t use foul language in our work. Some of us are parents and we want to be able to explain ourselves to our kids. We recognize students have a different standard, and we don’t judge. This can be exemplified by the call-and-response cheer initiated by the students:
Student Leader: Hey [goalie’s last name], guess what?
Students: YOU SUCK!
The Red Army: WE CONCUR!
The Thundering Bums
The Bums are the Red Army’s Drum Line, the backbone of The Red Army, and the hardest of hardcore fans, grizzled by years of triumph and heartbreak. The Bums, and the Red Army in general, are led by Minister of Boom Ryan Snyder (@PyroMonkeyUNO), known by his bandanna and his general sense of weirdness.
The Bums consider it their duty to drive the energy in the building. Originally, the drums of the Red Army were five-gallon paint buckets, but the move to a much bigger CenturyLink Center required heavier artillery – the tops of 55-gallon drums. They are played, most traditionally, with sawed-off hockey sticks and are referred to as the “Buckets o’Boom.”
You absolutely would not read a complete description of what goes on during a game, and we don’t want to spoil the whole experience. Here are a few set pieces that happen at every game to get you oriented.
Immediately before faceoff, a punk classic titled “Bro Hymn (Tribute)” by Pennywise plays on the arena PA. Everyone sings the wordless whoa-oh chorus. How loud you sing Bro Hymn is a direct test of your worthiness as a UNO fan. After the puck drops, the music will be turned off, but the leader will drum out a cadence to sing Bro Hymn one more time.
After this concludes, the Red Army will chant “Ooh! Aah! Bigger than a Knights Crowd!” which is a very old jab at the short-lived AHL team that came to town and claimed before its first game that it had the best fans in Omaha. Some say this should be discontinued as the Knights haven’t played here in years. FACTS DO NOT MATTER TO THE RED ARMY. Bro Hymn is also sung at the beginning of each overtime period.
First goal fish
In the early days, when we didn’t have many traditions, Coach Mike Kemp told Jon Martin of a time he was coaching a game at Anchorage as an assistant for Wisconsin when a drunk fat guy ran down the aisle and tossed a salmon into the University of Wisconsin’s bench. The fish hit Kemper on the head. Kemp thought that was pretty cool. Jon agreed to give it a try.
Since then, UNO has thrown one fish on the ice after the first UNO goal of every home game. After the fish is thrown, a miniature Zamboni will race onto the ice and a guy with a fishing net will scoop up the fish, pop a wheelie and speed off. This guy is Greg “Krutov” McVey, and he built the “Mavboni.” It is said this is an instruction to the opposing goalie to “fish” the puck out of the net, but this explanation is revisionist at best. We throw a fish BECAUSE THROWING A FISH.
When UNO scores a goal
There is a sequence here. It it is always the same. When UNO scores, the following occurs:
1. Go nuts.
2. On UNO’s first goal, a fish will be thrown onto the ice and retrieved. More on this in a minute.
3. When the fight song finishes, U!N!O!
4. Play will resume. The official scoring will be announced.
5. As the scoring concludes, sing the Ole’. The Ole’ is sung four times. On those happy occasions that goals are scored in rapid succession, unsung Ole’s are tacked on until four for each goal are sung. Keep singing the Ole’ until you’ve done four, even if there is a face-off or announcement that threatens to drown you out. The only reason you stop singing the Ole’ is if UNO scores another goal. Note If UNO scores in overtime, thus ending the game, the Ole’ will be sung at, or on the way to, the Victory Sing, described in more detail below.
6. The leader of the Red Army will yell: “Red Army! Buckets up!” and the Thundering Bums will hoist their drums overhead. You may raise whatever is in your hands. Or just your hands. The leader yells: “Goal Count! Ready!” and the Red Army and Student Section count out the goals UNO has scored. This is followed by pointing at the opposing goalie and yelling “It’s all your fault!” three times. (“Buckets up” is also the Red Army’s traditional command to raise glasses in a toast. The response to “Buckets up” is of course “Ole’.”)
7. The students traditionally launch a “Yes!” chant in the manner popularized by Michigan State. (If Austin Ortega scores, this is modified to “Si!”)
8. After all of this, the cheer is “We want another one! Just like the other one! We! Want! X!” where X is the current number of goals plus one. If the math is hard, don’t worry, half the students just yell “seven!” no matter what the score actually is.
When the team comes out for the third period (usually after a pump-up video plays), a number of beach balls are released into the student section and batted about as students and the Red Army jump around and dance. As soon as play begins we put the balls down. We never risk a penalty or injuring a player by batting one onto the ice. If you cause either of these things, you are at serious risk for injury. From us.
We’re the UNO Mavericks
This is the trademark student song, sung to the tune of “We’re Not Gonna Take It”:
We’re the UNO Mavericks
We ARE the UNO Mavericks
We’re the UNO Mavericks
Who are you?
If the Mavericks win, they gather in a huddle, bounce up and down and sing the Fite Song, which you should look up and learn. In the CenturyLink Center, this occurred about 10 minutes after the game in the main lobby. We’re not sure, at this writing, where the Sing will take place at Baxter Arena.
When an opposing player is called for a penalty, chant “Skate! Skate! Skate!” When he reaches the penalty box, yell, “Sit Down, Hack!”
We do other stuff than what’s written here. New traditions will be born every day. You’ll figure it out. Just come home with your throat bleeding from screaming so hard, and you’ll be fine.