There was something special about Saturday night’s last hockey game played at the John Glas Fieldhouse by Bemidji State University. I never attended Bemidji State University…truthfully I have only been in Bemidji a little over 6 years. But anyone who is a true hockey fan had to have been touched if they were in attendance.
The hockey game in itself was amazing. Obviously the Beavers knew what a special night it was, and I am sure Niagara knew the magnitude of the event and was dreading the game. Their concern came true with the score 3 – 0 Beavers after one period. The second period was not much better with Bemidji State outshooting the Purple Eagles 24 to 5 and ending the period with a 5 to 0 lead. It was all downhill from there.
But the evening was more than just the hockey game. It was the entire atmosphere…half celebration, half absorbing just how much history this building had. It was fans stopping above the student section to enjoy the pep band wedged in the corner playing “Tequila” between the 2nd and 3rd period. It was the cameras flashing of people taking pictures of the scoreboard, the press box, even the old “Its Beaver Hockey Time” wooden clock that adorns the end of the arena. People wanted any piece of remembrance of the old place.
One of the more touching memories was the standing ovation the almost 3000 fans gave Vance Balstad, the 36 year Zamboni driver at the Glas, after his final pass between the 2nd and 3rd period. The chant “VANCE, VANCE,VANCE” started with the student section and worked its way throughout the entire arena. It is just another part of the rich history of hockey at Bemidji State University.
Yes it might have been a bit hokey, but the passing of the lit torch after the game from the first goal scorer at the Glas in 1967 to the last goal scorer on the present team hit home with words from R. H. “Bob” Peters. He said “buildings come and go but traditions always live on”.
As a kid who grew up playing playground hockey in St. Paul, watching high school games at Aldrich Arena in Maplewood, working in college at the St. Paul Civic Center for the WHA Minnesota Fighting Saints, to watching the St. Cloud State Huskies for 7 years, to being a part of the Bemidji State University hockey tradition, this hockey fan wants to say thank you for the great memories and I look forward with anticipation of many more memories at the BREC in the WCHA.
You Tube Video of Zamboni Last Pass at the Glas with standing ovation
You Tube Vidoe of last 30 seconds at the Glas