HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The University of Alabama at Huntsville said its hands are tied when it comes to pep groups at Hockey Games. It’s up to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association to lift a newly-installed ban on spirit teams performing.
“For UAH, we don’t have a football team… we have a hockey team,” said UAH band member Wesley Evans. And it should be treated as such, according to Evans.
He says hockey for UAH is the equivalent of any other Southern college’s football game day.
When the Western Collegiate Hockey Association initiated a ban on spirit groups performing at games, Evans and fellow band mate Roland Mann jumped into action.
They started a petition arguing the pep band should be allowed at home hockey games played at the Von Braun Center.
Evans estimates that attendance for UAH games are rarely ever over 1/4 capacity.
“If we socially distant the band, put 1 or 2 extra seats between us… we can absolutely fit everyone there and have 6 feet apart,” Evans said.
Mann said the band has been prepping with proper safety equipment for the entire semester.
“We actually have these handy dandy masks here that, besides looking pretty slick, also have a hole in them for the mouthpiece to go through, as you can see there. When you’re not playing it actually closes back up,” Mann said as he demonstrated with his mask. “We have some fancy, slick-looking bell covers. This comes from a study that came out a few months ago about how to conduct band classes safely.”
It’s not just the students who think the decision should be left to the schools to decide if they have a large enough venue to host the team, fans and spirit groups. Athletic Director Cade Smith signed the petition and echoed his support of the pep band.
“We have the support of Dr. Cade Smith, the Athletics Director, we have the support of Dr. Darren Dawson, the University President. The WCHA has decided, apparently, they don’t trust them to set their own rules on whether or not we can play in a safe manner,” Evans said.
News 19 reached out to the WCHA for a statement. Todd Bell with the WCHA sent the following:
“The decision on spirit groups for this season was part of a larger, in-depth discussion of all aspects of the WCHA’s Return to Competition plan that was unanimously approved by our Board of Directors and administrators earlier this month.”
Evans and Mann stand be their opinion.
“We’re told contact sports are safe right now, but we can’t have a band? I honestly find that hard to believe,” Evans said.