Fans Cheer on UMD Men’s Hockey at AMSOIL Arena for First Time in Months

In addition to family members, a limited number of tickets were available to students -- which reportedly sold out quickly.

DULUTH, Minn.- As the UMD Men’s Hockey Team returned from quarantine after a COVID situation postponed their series last week, cardboard cutouts weren’t the only ones cheering them on — fans welcomed the Bulldogs back to AMSOIL, for the first time since March.

“It’s nice,” said young Noah Wise seeing the game with his dad Sunday. “We’ve been waiting for a long time to come out here and see them play.”

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz loosened restrictions earlier this month, allowing indoor venues like AMSOIL Arena to host fans at 25 percent capacity with no more than 150 people.

So Bulldog Country showed up and what they lacked in numbers, they made up for in spirit.

“It feels like we are getting back to normal a little bit. But these guys work really hard and they deserve the opportunity to play and it’s good to see them out there,” Jasen, Noah’s dad said.

In addition to family members, a limited number of tickets were available to students — which reportedly sold out quickly.

“I know there’s not a lot of us but those of us that are here we definitely appreciate the opportunity,” said Sophomore Aaron Nielsen.

With plenty of empty seats for social distancing, masks required while spectating, and no concessions, it’s a bit different from the traditional stadium experience and a lot different from watching at home.

“It’s definitely something to get used to again,” Nielsen said. “It looks a little different in person and it’s nice to feel the energy coming from the teams and to try and help in whatever way we can.”

But for the players on the ice, having the in-person support helps keep those goals coming.

“My parents were able to come so it was nice to, nice to be able to see them again,” said UMD Forward Jackson Cates. “It definitely gives a little more energy.”

And parents of the Bulldogs are thrilled to be back — but it’s a quick jolt back to reality for some mothers. “You forget the pace of the game,” said Tammy Anderson, watching her son: Defenseman Matt Anderson.

“When you’re watching on TV and how hard they hit, as moms you cringe a little bit more in person. But it’s so fun because you can tell the boys are just playing so hard and you can kind of feel that energy from them as they’re playing,” she said.

And for the players who’s time is coming to an end with UMD, that energy and support means even more to them and their families. “Both our boys are seniors and so we’re really thankful,” said Anderson with Kobe Roth’s mom, Michelle Blunt.

“We’re cheering really hard, it’s hard to hear us with the masks on but we’re trying hard and we’ve got cowbells!” she said.

“And yeah, hopefully they can get some more fans coming too,” Forward Cates said.

So with eyes on the ice and ahead to the rest of the series, fans can’t wait for more opportunities to cheer their boys on in-person.

“Go dogs,” said Nielsen.  “Go bulldogs!” shouted Nielsen enthusiastically.

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