Filled to the brim with the unwavering faithful every winter, Lynah Rink has earned the moniker of “the greatest atmosphere in college hockey.”
Across the street, Schoellkopf Field is trying to earn its own place in Cornell sports lure with the Schoellkopf Sellout this Saturday.
“I would like it to be the start of a Cornell tradition,” said Pete Fitzpatrick ’94, manager of Cornell sports marketing. “Hockey is packed [each year]. There’s no reason we couldn’t have that for other sports.”
Back in the ’40s and ’50s, Saturday afternoons at Schoellkopf meant attendance figures routinely topping the 20,000-person mark. In an attempt to harken back to those days, sports marketing spawned the idea of filling the stadium’s 25,000-plus seating capacity, and it seems to have picked the right day for it.
Schoellkopf hasn’t been sold out since the Red entertained Princeton in 1955, but that could all change this weekend, on a day that features both Homecoming and Cornell’s contest against Ivy League rival Yale.
The game itself has monumental ramifications. With both the Red and Elis selected preseason favorites in the conference, it could very likely be a tilt with serious title hopes on the line.
Fitzpatrick hopes that what will set this contest apart will be the atmosphere surrounding it.
In a typical year, the two most successful football games attendance-wise are the first home game and Homecoming. With the two merged on the same day this season, attendance may reach heights not seen in years.
“Everything is really coming together for this one game. It’s going to be phenomenal,” Fitzpatrick said.
This year, in addition to the throngs of alumni that usually flock to Homecoming, the athletic administration is trying to attract the local fan base.
“We’ve always had a strong alumni base for our crowd,” Fitzpatrick said. “But I’m really hoping to draw more Ithacans to this game.”
To do so, there will be sideshow events, including a Hospitality Village and a Kids’ Zone.
And Fitzpatrick also expects a large student turnout.
“Students are going to be a huge part of this day,” he remarked, adding, “I think you’re going to see the largest number of students at a football game since the ’80s.”
If all goes well, the Schoellkopf Sellout could be a milestone for Cornell athletics.
“This really is the kick-off of the athletic season at Cornell,” Fitzpatrick said. “And it’s a good way to set the tone for the rest of the year.”
Archived article by Shiva Nagaraj