A college club hockey game at Northfield’s ice arena was the scene of an ugly incident a month ago involving Carleton and St. Olaf students, both players and spectators. I just found out about it this week when a LoGro reader alerted me.
Having behaved badly at times during my college days at St. Thomas, I’m not quick to make a big deal over college kids doing stupid or offensive stuff. But this was over the top.
As far as I know, there have been no public statements about this incident from the administrations of either St. Olaf or Carleton.
Here’s what’s been reported:
Manitou Messenger news: Club hockey team brawls with rival Carls; Team injures referee, prompting police intervention
Spectators howled and jeered as game play took a violent turn in the St. Olaf versus Carleton club hockey game on Friday, March 4 at the Northfield Ice Arena. The stands were packed with students, predominantly Oles, many of whom began the evening shouting profanities and other negative cheers, including the standard “Carleton sucks!”
The St. Olaf players were just as rambunctious as the fans. “St. Olaf had about as many penalty minutes as they had game minutes,” spectator Thomas Hegland ’13 said. When the crowd threw soda cans and bottles onto the ice, St. Olaf was penalized, and additional bottles and cans along with zamboni tires were thrown onto the ice in retaliation.
Manitou Messenger editorial: Club hockey brawl triggers shame and stitches
After several minutes the fight finally ended, leaving gear strewn across the ice. There were drops of blood from a referee, who had been “seriously injured,” as the St. Olaf student announcer stated over the loud speaker. The referee attempted to pull players apart. As he skated to the bench the fight left a deep sense of shame and disappointment in me.
Not only did I feel shame because of the fight, but also because of the cheers of “F— you, Carleton,” “F— you, Olaf,” “ugly b—-es,” etc., and because of the constant throwing of trash onto the ice. I was even more surprised that one of the St. Olaf students on the bench threw tires onto the ice and then walked out of the arena.
There were several other incidents that weren’t in the articles. I have no idea what happened in the St. Olaf locker rooms, but I do know that one of the Carleton players asked the police to watch the Carleton locker room, because St. Olaf fans were lined up outside the locker room when they went back in between periods. My friend’s stick and gloves were stolen when he was in the bathroom. I don’t know what happened in the Ole locker rooms, but I’m sure it wasn’t exactly peaceful either.
Lastly – the fight was ugly and intense. In addition to the players, several spectators actually jumped over the glass onto the ice so that they could join the fight – it was ridiculous. I have no idea who hit the ref, but both schools were equally at fault and it was really startling. I wasn’t aware that the game was called a draw, but it doesn’t surprise me.
In short, it was an ugly game. There were a lot of drunk fans from both schools, and the tensions elevated really quickly. I don’t expect another Carleton-St. Olaf game for a while.
Naturally, the game was called a draw and the police spent hours afterwords clearing up the brawls OUTSIDE the arena.
The Northfield police report for March 4 only says:
Event Number: LNO110304002932
Date/Time Incident: 03/4/2011 9: 7: 9 PM
Type: L/EXTRA PATROL
Address: 12XX BOLLENBACHER DR
Disposition: ADVISED OR ASSISTED
This 2008 Carletonian article tells the story of local police ticketing students for alcohol consumption at club hockey games: Strong Northfield police presence at recent Chiefs game
The question may remain unsolvable. For the more immediate future, one of the written-up students suggested that the school warn students if there is knowledge of likely increased police activity. “I think the school really made a faux pas in this circumstance,” said the student. “A heads-up could have gone a long way… the school knows that students go to the hockey games inebriated.”