It’s A Grand Night To Be A Laker. Especially If You’re A Woman.

Maybe you big-city folk thought it was a slow sports news night, what with an uninspiring slate of pro and college basketball, an NHL Skills competition that for all but the fans of Connor McDavid was meh and little else happening even on the trade front (sorry, that’s the way Scott Boras has been operating for decades).

In my college town of Oswego, New York, it’s anything but a boring time and last night in particular proved to be doubly historic.

At my football-less school, hockey’s huge and a necessary distraction from the dreariness of a Lake Ontario winter.  Early February is typically where everything peaks–the battle for playoff position as the regular season heads into its final stretches, and even if Punxsatawney Phil does see his shadow we all know we’re not seeing anything close to decent weather until well into April, if that.

So all the more reason for this proud long-lost alum to get as excited as possible when actual historic events occur.  The team not only got a crucial win for this season last night, but for the 58 that preceded it as well, as the school’s website posted with enthusiasm last night:

Tonight, the fifty-nine-year history of Oswego Men’s Hockey culminated in their 1000th win in program history. The Lakers took down the Brockport Golden Eagles by a score of 5-1. Let’s look back at how we got there.

Through the fifty-nine-year history of the men’s hockey program, they have collected an incredible number of accolades. In 2007 the Lakers were crowned the NCAA Division III men’s ice hockey champions in Superior, Wisconsin. They have been made the Frozen Four eight times (2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2007, 2003, 1987) and were NCAA Runner-Ups four times (2012, 2013, 2003, 1987). The Lakers also captured SUNYAC titles in 2014, 2013, 2010, 2003, 1991, 1989, 1984, 1982, 1981, and 1980.

Any article today that actually includes a couple of instances where I was present (those two earliest SUNYAC titles) makes me a tad more connected and prideful.  All the more eager to see how tonight’s crucial road showdown goes down, as the local Palladium-Times offered up in their weekend preview:

Oswego is …slated to play at Geneseo (16-4, 9-2) at 7 p.m. Saturday in a potential showdown for first place in the conference.  The Lakers and Knights enter the weekend tied for the top spot in the conference standings. Oswego leads the league in fewest goals allowed (16) in conference games while Geneseo is second (21), setting up an intense, defensive-minded battle between the league rivals.  Oswego is 1-10-1 over its last 12 games in the series with Geneseo, claiming a 4-3 win on the road in November 2022 as the lone victory over that span. The Lakers’ previous win against the Knights was in February 2018.

Their star senior Shane Bull led the way last night with a four-goal effort, and he’s the current conference leader in goals (17) and points (36).  So they’ll have his momentum in their road game tonight.  But unofortunately they won’t have the presence of the other history-makers from last night, one that the school’s STUDENT LIFE column described with deserved pride:

WTOP-10, SUNY Oswego’s student-led broadcast station, will air its first-ever sports broadcast with a team made up entirely of women on Friday, Feb. 2. Both the production team and on-air talent will be all women.

Co-producers Jolie Santiago and Natalie Barden say that the idea was first presented at WTOP’s first general interest meeting of the current academic year. The day of the broadcast was chosen purposefully to air ahead of National Girls and Women in Sports Day on Feb. 7.

When Santiago heard of this idea, she immediately had an interest in leading the initiative. The broadcast has been in the works since December 2023 and now involves a team of 21 female students in total.

The alumni who have shown their support for this broadcast are a diverse group from throughout Oswego broadcasting history.

“We’ve been able to hear from people like Linda Cohn, Donna Goldsmith, people who graduated in the ’80s, and then some more recent alumni like Morgan Rumpf, who was the first female sports director, and my friend who graduated last year, so it’s exciting to have that array of alumni from different eras of WTOP and hear all of them be so excited and proud and hear their experiences,” said Barden.

Well, I ain’t no female.  But I was a classmate of both Cohn and Goldsmith, and one of the pioneers of that student-run station, the first news director in its history, if what we did even qualified as news.  Let’s just say given what I had to work with, the fact we produced anything watchable at all was miraculous.  The people of both genders there today are far better equipped and, frankly, talented.  I’d put the broadcast these students did last night right up there with anything that any college station of any size currently produces, and arguably ahead of those that the nearest Nielsen DMA to the school, #85 Syracuse, currently produces.  When I was at Oswego Syracuse typically ranked in the mid-60s among Nielsen’s 210-ish markets.  So the gap between college and pro has narrowed considerably.

So yep, I’m proud of my school’s past, that milestone 1000th victory and, even more importantly, its progressive and inclusive way they now cover it.  And as a sports fan seeking something you can excited about, I couldn’t direct you to anywhere that I’d consider to be a more compelling or encouraging storyline that the battle for first place in the SUNYAC.

Yes, I know in this great context of things, I’m biased and exaggerated.  I’m sure those of you with school pride and connections would beg to differ.  I’d love to hear about them.  Seriously.  Maybe a few of you would want to write about on this site?  Do remember, we did put out a Help Wanted post earlier this week.

Until then, I’m gonna raise my own flag with green and gold colors and brag.  A lot more passionately than I usually do.  I’ve got 1021 really compelling reasons to do so.

Courage…

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