The 942 Crew will follow ASU men's hockey wherever it may go

ASU men's hockey games are packed with fans, thanks to the team's popularity among students

When one first thinks of the 942 Crew, they might imagine the antics seen on television at Wells Fargo Arena during basketball games when the "Curtain of Distraction” is unfurled, and an opposing player attempts a free throw. Or maybe they would think of the “Double Inferno” featured in the north and south end zones of Sun Devil Stadium at football games.

Although not ingrained in years of tradition, ASU men's hockey and the 942 Crew are coming together, becoming more intertwined than ever before. 

Head coach Greg Powers said one of the most important initiatives during the offseason involved developing more campus outreach.

“At Camp Fargo, (we) brought them pizza … We had 942 crew out (during the) preseason for an open skate with the players on the ice and spent time with them there,” Powers said. “I think just interacting on a personal level with the students on an ongoing basis is really important as we continue to grow affinity for our team and sport on this campus and so far, it’s worked well.”

Since the beginning of the season, the 942 Crew has had little trouble filling the student section at ASU men's hockey games. 

“We put it on ourselves ... to make sure that section is full every game,” Joey Palomarez, marketing and social media chair for the 942 Crew, said in a phone interview. 

And the players are noticing. 

“I think we’ve had the student section basically sold out for almost every game, so it’s been pretty cool having that kind of support and seeing ASU really take to hockey like we hoped they would," ASU sophomore goaltender Joey Daccord said.

At Oceanside Ice Arena, the current home of ASU men’s and women’s hockey teams, the 942 Crew is seated in the end zone, close to the main doors of the building. The 942 Crew acts almost as a support system for whoever dawns the maroon and gold jersey in net, while fostering a hostile environment for opposing goaltenders when the teams change sides. 

“It’s so crowded, and you feel a little closed in because of the rink,” Daccord said. “I think having the noise … it definitely adds to the atmosphere and makes it a little more intimidating for the opposing team.”

Redshirt junior forward Louie Rowe said the 942 Crew has become a vital part of the team's games.

“They’re kind of our heartbeat, so to speak,” Rowe said. “You can imagine a small building – it’s easy to hear the noise when there’s not that many people here, but at the same time, we’ve got our good friends, our colleagues, our family over there.”

When the Sun Devils take to the ice for the first time at home games, the team is announced, followed by speakers blaring the ASU fight song. 

“I think it always gives you a boost,” Daccord said. “When you come out on the ice sometimes, when you hear the big roar, it gives you the chills a little bit and gets you fired up to play.”

Oceanside Ice Arena, ASU’s main home, is a smaller venue than that of the team’s second home just over 20 miles away: Gila River Arena. Oceanside might not compare to Gila River, a multi-purpose arena, in terms of size, but small comes with its advantages. 

“When it’s full and when they’re loud, it’s a really fun place to play,” Daccord said. “I think it definitely gives us an advantage and helps us get that extra boost against teams to let them know … we’re here to win and compete as hard as we can.”

About three weeks ago, ASU played in its first tournament of the 2018 calendar year at the inaugural Ice Vegas Invitational at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Although it is considered a neutral site venue, the 942 Crew was determined to make its presence known.

“It was an amazing experience," Palomarez, who was in Las Vegas for the invitational, said. "We go up there every year for the (ASU) men's basketball tournament, so it was a little different being up there for a hockey tournament. Being a new hockey school playing Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan and meeting those fans and seeing their fan cultures was cool as well.”

Powers said he knew a group of fans would be coming to Las Vegas for the invitational. 

“It was awesome. It was everything we hoped it would be,” Powers said. “Our guys took the ice in that first game against Northern Michigan, and you could feel them give our guys the energy, and we started out that game … up 3-0 before we could blink. I think a lot of that is attributed to the support the 942 Crew gave our guys.” 

The Sun Devils won both games played: 7-3 against Northern Michigan and 3-2 versus Michigan Tech. 

“It felt like home games,” Rowe said. “I think when …we put up some goals and you could hear that crowd, it felt like we were right there at home. And that’s why we gave them the salute after each game, to let them know we’re super thankful they were able to make it out to support us.”

With the final home games of the year coming up against powerhouse Boston University Friday, Jan. 26 in Glendale and Saturday, Jan. 27 in Tempe, Palomarez said he sees no trouble with the 942 Crew once again piling into the designated seating areas. 

“It's a huge weekend obviously with hockey having a great opponent coming to town,” Palomarez said. "Friday night, we will be out there (at Gila River Arena). Saturday night, (Oceanside) being a small arena, it's going to be fine. They're going to sell out just like they do every game." 


Reach the reporter at michael.baron@asu.edu or follow @Michael_Baron96 on Twitter.

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