International Students Discover Passion for Ice Hockey


CC: Ann Guo

Northeastern’s mascot Paws excited to see fans back at Matthews Arena, Boston.

Xinyun (Jessie) Wang, Associate Editor

“Let’s go Huskies! Let’s go Huskies!” 

If you ever visit Matthews Arena for a hockey game, you will always see a group of Chinese students cheering for the athletes.

Ice hockey is a sport with violent collisions and fast movements. The athletes are flying on the ice and you may lose where the puck is going. Hockey is not a popular sport in China compared with soccer or basketball. Many Chinese students experience their first live hockey game at Matthews Arena, Northeastern’s home ice for hockey, and immediately fall in love with the game. They worry they will not be able to watch many hockey games after returning home. Therefore they cherish every single time they can attend.

Xinyu Lu, a huge sports fan, speaks highly of college games: “I go to the stadium to watch the game and the players and the fans are also energetic. There is not too much difference between the game in college or to go to a game in a professional league.”

Lu said the lights in the stadium and the media are also as high quality as professional games.  Northeastern’s Matthews Arena also has a dance cam and other entertainment for fans during breaks in the game.

Lu found that after watching ice hockey for the first time, she got really into the sport, and found it more and more interesting the more she experienced. Hockey is not that popular in China, so Lu cherishes the opportunities to watch the games. More importantly, she likes the atmosphere of Matthews Arena, the loyal group of supporters from Northeastern, known as “the Doghouse.” Lu said, “No matter if we win or lose, I want to support our team.”

Sometimes, the Huskies don’t win a home game but still get the full support of the “Doghouse.” 

Lu said, “Losing is inevitable and no one can always win all the time. As fans, we must support them and we hope to cheer them up and tell them that no matter whether they win or lose, the fans support them very much, so that they can relax and be more confident on the ice. Just don’t take this win or loss in your heart, it’s like a stone, pressing them like this, just let them know, the fans will always support them.”

After their latest match against Boston College, Northeastern’s women’s team signed autographs and allowed fans to come and meet the players.

Magen Carter, senior defender said, “It is so nice to have so many fans in the stands and we love when people bring their friends and can share the fun of hockey with everybody. So we appreciate you coming in. Please keep bringing all your friends.”

Maureen Murphy, Graduate Student Forward, added, “We appreciate seeing faces from all around the world and we are playing for our fans. We are glad for all the support.”

Northeastern Women’s Hockey team players cheering and saying hello to their Chinese fans. CC: Xinyun (Jessie) Wang

Friday evening was Ann Guo’s, a graduate student studying Data Analytics Engineering, first time attending a live hockey game. Guo said that the match was quite exciting and really worth it. Hockey is a spectacle that is always best viewed in the stadium, in the atmosphere of the home fans, cheering for their favorite team. 

Ruhan Ye, contributor for the Global Observer, also recently went to her first hockey game: the women’s team’s contest against Maine. Ye said she wants to keep following the team after her first time and that she was impressed by the fighting spirit from the players as they kept shooting even in the dying seconds of the game. 

Matthews Arena has over 100 years of history. Many Chinese students feel honored and lucky to be part of its history and to witness the players improving and some even developing enough to make it professional. 

Maybe in a few years, the Huskies’ international student fans will turn on the TV and see those Husky veterans playing in the NHL, helping them to think of the good old days when they were back in Matthews Arena.