While the Laker teams are on the road this season, the Laker Legion student organization has been hosting viewing parties, enabling students to gather and watch their teams.
Over 50 fans were in attendance at the first party back on October 22nd, 2016. Fans watched the Lakers erase a quick 1-0 deficit with four unanswered goals en route to a 5-2 road victory and series sweep of the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers.
Gatherings have been held ever since, with Friday games typically being broadcast in Peacock Cove (in the basement of the Walker Cisler Center), and Saturday games over in the large lecture hall just outside of the main entrance to the library.
“The Laker Legion is a new student organization,” said Marc Boucher, a member of the Laker Legion Executive Board. “The more excitement we can generate at our athletics events, the more fun we all can have. The teams certainly feed off the increased enthusiasm of the students, and that makes it even more fun to attend.”
The idea for organizing such a student section has come from many areas, including sports marketing intern Abbie Laajala, head hockey coach Damon Whitten, and student government member Shelbey Smith.
The Legion is not focusing on just hockey. Boucher has stated that the Legion is looking to increase engagement, excitement and campus pride across the entire athletics program. “We hope that by engaging students and student athletes in multiple venues that we can broaden all students’ campus experiences,” said Boucher.
The mission of the Legion, as described by Boucher, is to present students with the opportunity to organize and participate in supporting Laker athletics, to help build a culture of Laker pride among the entire campus community, to help student athletes and non-varsity athletes gain a better understanding of each other and form bonds, and to create a fun environment to demonstrate campus pride among colleagues.
In addition to being a raucous, yet entertaining, bunch at home games, the Legion has also organized bus trips to see the team on the road.
Organized groups such as the Laker Legion have been attempted in the past, with “We Are Lake State” in the late 1990’s (during the Scott Borek era) and the “Laker Blue Crew” existing for a time while Jim Roque was at the helm of the Lakers. For one reason or another, each of these groups eventually dissolved.
The Legion has stated that members of the public are free to come and watch the Lakers with the students. With that in mind, many do, including many members of the Soo Blue Liners Club.
This club is open to all students. For more information on the Legion, contact Boucher, Laajala, Smith, or Whitten. To learn about more viewing parties in the future, keep an eye out for e-mails regarding them.