RPI hockey fans put on ice

TROY – On a typical night at Houston Field House, when the RPI hockey team takes the ice, the place is rocking and very often the building erupts into a big red freak out zone.

"I am literally charged to scream and hoot and holler," said Sarah Woods, an RPI graduate and long time season ticket holder.

Woods began rooting for the Engineers when she was three years old. But instead of sitting in her season ticket holder’s seat Friday night, she was with other diehard fans at the Recovery Sports Grill on Hoosick Street, taking in the game on a giant screen tv.

"Obviously I wish I were inside (Houston Field House)," she said, "It is definitely not the same without fans and fans just bring (excitement) out in the games."

RPI students who are fully vaccinated and wearing masks are the only fans allowed inside House Field House. It’s part of the school’s pandemic protocol.

"It seems like a major penalty, not just two minutes, said Jim Waugaman, an RPI season ticket holder for roughly fifty years.

"Well, I’m not happy obviously," Waugaman continued, "It’s kind of disappointing and there’s no good logic. I’ve heard no explanation why Union can watch their team and we have to stay at home and sit in a bar and watch it on tv, what is that?"

David Totts inherited his season tickets from his dad, who passed away in 1986.

"I understand the concern," Totts acknowledges, "However I don’t know if this is true but I understand most of the other ECAC teams are allowing external spectators. If that’s the case I have to believe this is a bit of an over reaction."

Sitting at the bar to watch the game might not be the biggest disappointment. Seeing their beloved Engineers possibly losing home ice advantage might be more discouraging.

"I think it certainly doesn’t help," says Waugaman, "It’s definitely an edge they don’t have now."

"The fans at RPI, especially a lot of students and the band, they really bring a different air to the whole thing," said Totts, "