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So you're going to be a Husky (part 1)

Incoming Northeastern students take note: although Northeastern might not be a major conference school in every sport nor are they any sort of household name, there is plenty for the sports fan to do at Northeastern. Here you’ll find Examiner.com’s one-of-a-kind introduction to being a sports fan who attends Northeastern.

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First and foremost, congratulations are in order. You, new Northeastern student, have braved the traffic and chaos of move-in day on Huntington Avenue. You’re in Boston, surrounded by well-known parts of one of the most interesting cities in the country if not the world. No doubt you already know plenty about the co-op program, and the academic situation at this unique and innovative university. I probably don’t need to be the person to tell you former Massachusetts governor and presidential runner-up Michael Dukakis is a political science professor here, for example.

Now, aside from seeing some of the facilities on a tour (if you took one), and maybe hearing a little bit about the Beanpot tournament, chances are you don’t know all that much about the athletic department at Northeastern and the programs offered. So the next couple weeks are going to give you an idea of what to expect from the Huskies in various sports and other neat facts about being a sports fan at NU.

…Oh. It is “NU” by the way. Nebraska and Northwestern are bigger, yes, but they also don’t tend to play Northeastern a lot, so Northeastern is NU to the student body.

First, the basics: the Huskies are also known as “the Huntington Hounds.” Home football field is Parsons Field in Brookline, which is a complex that also houses the baseball and soccer teams. (You’ll see it on Google Earth if you look at Brookline—it’s the rectangular patch of unnaturally dark green land between the C and D lines.) Home basketball and hockey arena is Matthews Arena, formerly the Boston Arena—the oldest indoor ice arena in America, and the original home of both the Bruins and the Celtics. Northeastern is best known athletically for the men’s hockey team, a Beanpot competitor and a member of power hockey conference Hockey East. The most famous athletic alumni are the late Reggie Lewis and Tampa Bay Rays’ first baseman Carlos Pena.

In hockey, Northeastern has three rivals. Boston University and Boston College are the primary rivals, but include Harvard as well, because all four teams comprise the annual Beanpot tournament for college hockey supremacy in Boston. Since Northeastern plays I-AA football and Boston University plays neither baseball nor football, in sports off the ice the Huskies’ rival is…nobody.

Oh, Northeastern’s a member of the Colonial Athletic Association, so if you’d like to call any of those schools a rival it would be apt. But NU is just about to enter just its fifth year in the conference, so there’s no history to draw a rivalry from. (The most compelling case is Drexel because they are also a co-op school.) There’s a weak Boston-New York angle to the Huskies’ contests with Hofstra. Historically, the Huskies’ rival in most sports was once Boston University, but the two schools are no longer in the same conference for basketball and the Terriers no longer have football or baseball programs.

Then there’s the atmosphere around Northeastern. Boston is a huge sports city after all, and Northeastern is right in the middle of it all. The school’s campus was the site of the original homes of the Celtics, Bruins and Red Sox. Fenway Park is closer to campus than the field where Northeastern plays baseball. Both of the lines of the T that touch campus lead to North Station, which is of course directly underneath the TD Garden. In other words, there is no major sports venue within the Boston city limits that will take more than twenty minutes to get to.

This has been part one of an ongoing introduction series. More to come soon.

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