There are many sports on a typical college campus, but few compare to the following or sheer intensity of the fans of the UNC Bears Hockey team.
Some may write them off for being a club sport, but the Bears have a truly special environment at the Ice Haus downtown. The crowd is rowdy from the pump-up music during pre-game.
Sports fans are excited for the fast paced play and hard hits, while others are simply excited to be at an exciting event on a Friday night.
During the games fans can expect to see hard hits, fantastic saves, epic goals, the occasional fight waiting to be broken up by the refs, and an overall high energy game.
The Bears are part of the Big Mountain Hockey Conference (BMHC), which was established two years ago to give regional opponents rivals and a unit of measurement to compare themselves to the competition.
All teams in the conference are able to play each other at least once and all are competing for the conference title. To win the conference the first place team must have more wins than the other teams and depending on the margin of wins to second place this title can be clinched before the conference tournament or may be decided by the conference tournament.
To move onto the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) regional playoffs a team must finish third through 12th in the West Region, with the top two teams automatically qualifying for nationals. The top two teams at the regional tournament also advance to nationals.
The Bears boast a 2016 conference title and conference tournament title, a 2017 conference title, a heartbreaking third place finish in regional playoffs in 2016, finished second place at regional playoffs thanks to two overtime thrillers in 2017, and a 2017 national playoffs appearance are all fresh in the minds of many players on this year’s team.
Other proud accomplishments of the team are being voted UNC’s 2016 Best Club Sport of the Year, ACHA DII National Community Service Award of the Year, and having Cameron Taggert make the ACHA DII All-Star team in 2017.
Looking ahead to this season, the Bears are surely hungry to get back to the conference title, take back the conference tournament title from the Buffs’ and place top two in regionals in a pursuit to make it to Frisco, Texas for national playoffs.
To do just that the Bears have lined up an always tough BMHC schedule and several big-name out of conference opponents that will hopefully elevate the Bears to another great season if they continue their winning traditions.
UNC opens its schedule at the Ice Haus, but as a visitor. This will be part of a two-game preseason series with the Northern Colorado Eagles, a junior club team that competes in the WSHL.
The Eagles will be also playing at the Ice Haus from now on, but the Bears will still play at regular times. The Bears will be the “visiting” team for insurance purposes, according to the team.
Junior league teams are extremely competitive, but since the age bracket is 16-20 there are many legal hurdles to ensure a good game both teams.
The Bears and Eagles will faceoff this Friday at 8:45 p.m. and Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at the Greeley Ice Haus. A week from this Friday UNC will play its last preseason game against the Cheyenne Stampede.
In BMHC play the Bears will play games against University of Denver (DU), Metro State University, the University of Colorado (CU), the University of Wyoming (UW), and Colorado State University (CSU).
Other notable opponents include a tournament in North Dakota featuring Northern Arizona and Boise State, the Beehive Classic in Utah featuring Michigan State and Utah State, Military Appreciation Night against Air Force, a single home game with Texas A&M University, the Big Mountain Classic Tournament hosted by the Ice Haus and Big Mountain Hockey Conference Playoffs also held in Greeley.
Ways to follow the Bears Hockey team
Games are at The Greeley Ice Haus, 900 8th Ave, Greeley, CO 80631
On Facebook https://www.facebook.com/uncbearshockey
The complete Bears schedule can be found at http://uncbearshockey.com
For conference news, standings or score updates around the conference visit http://bigmountainhockey.pointstreaksites.com
For league news, standings, or scores around the league visit http://achahockey.org/view/achahockey/divisions/men-s-d2-1 Always visit the Division II page since the Bears are Division II due to size of the university.