Poor sportsmanship not tolerated

After isolated incidences last year resulted in students being kicked out of hockey games, the University decided to enforce their zero tolerance policy for bad sportsmanship.

The athletic department went before the USG, sent letters to the editor and began making announcements at every game in an attempt to raise awareness about the zero tolerance policy.

Jim Elsasser, assistant director of the athletic department, said in the past the policy was never enforced, but incidents last year stemming from profanity and obscene gestures directed at players, visiting fans and officials forced the University to take action.

Signs have been posted in various location throughout the Ice Arena, especially in the student section, Elsasser said. These signs represent the policy that was created by the Athletic department he said.

“Bowling Green State University’s hockey fans are the best in the CCHA,” the signs read. “It’s with our help that creates an unbelievable atmosphere for our home hockey games. We ask that you cheer with sportsmanship in mind.”

“Sportsmanship is at the forefront of NCAA athletics,” Elsasser said.

Vern Stenlund, the coach for the University of Windsor hockey team, recently played an exhibition game earlier this month against the Falcons.

“The fans were nothing but gracious,” Stenlund said. “We were well received by the coaches, the players, the arena staff and the fans.”

Another team BG recently played in hockey was the University of Connecticut.

“It was early in the year when we played there,” said Bruce Marshall, their hockey team’s coach. “The fans were excited and supporting their team. I never felt like they shouldn’t be cheering like that at all.”

Elsasser attributes the good behavior to the proactive stance that is being taken to deal with bad sportsmanship. Students who are witnessed violating the policy will be removed from the game and will be referred to Student Discipline Program, Elasser said.

“Hockey is the one sport where students can interact closely with the players,” Elsasser said. And it’s when students get close the players that unsportsmanlike incidences are likely to occur.

“When foul language was directed at the players or the officials it was just a matter of identifying who said it and escorting them out of the arena,” he said.

But so far this season there have been no incidents.

“We are trying to create a family environment and a friendly environment,” Elsasser said.