With the nation swept up in ice hockey fever thanks to the Winter Olympics, local residents in Charlottesville will have a chance to see the game up close and personal.
The Blue Ridge Hockey Conference is holding its playoffs this weekend at the Main Street Arena. Over ten collegiate programs will be in the house, including James Madison and Virginia, the top two seeds in the Atlantic Division.
Both the Cavaliers and Dukes call Main Street their home ice, and the Wahoos hope they take advantage of that.
"It's really cool to have it here on our ice because this year it's made a really big difference having our fans here for every game and it gives us a lot of energy.," UVA student-coach Steffen Herter said. "We always play a lot better at home."
For the seniors on the Virginia squad, this weekend is a culmination of all the hard work they've put in during their time in Charlottesville.
"This is a big weekend for us, especially the fourth years on the team," senior forward Sean Buckhorn said. "Some of us who have played all four years, it's really great to have the Tournament here and play our last college hockey games in front of our hometown."
Virginia and JMU are scheduled to face off Friday night, and Buckhorn says the two teams that share a home don't really like each other.
"It's pretty nasty on the ice to be honest with you. But that's what we like as hockey players."
All involved hope this weekend provides some good exposure for the game and brings the people out.
"Hockey's booming in Virginia right now and down here at Main Street Arena so you better get down here real quick," Virginia senior defenseman Thomas Livingston said. "We've got a lot fans all year long and with the Olympics going on it should be a good time."
"The Olympics are making everyone pay attention to hockey a little bit more," Herter added. "A lot of people haven't seen hockey games before, a lot of people haven't been before so this is a really good way to get into it is watching us here."
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