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Tonight’s NCAA Game at the Aud Will Feature Some Changes

(Photo courtesy of Utica Daily News)

There will be noticeable differences at the Utica Memorial Auditorium on Saturday night for the NCAA Quarter-Final game between the Pioneers and Bowdoin.  There are plenty of NCAA regulations that have forced some things to be eliminated and/or modified.

Gone will be the darkened Aud and dramatic spotlight which has become tradition when Utica’s roster is introduced.  ”The NCAA will only allow us to use the spotlight if we also use it for Bowdoin,” said Utica head coachGary Heenan.  This is just the beginning of the changes.

There will be no alcohol served at tonight’s event.  NCAA rules prohibit sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages.  Prohibition extends to advertising, as well.  Any billboards or signs in the Aud promoting beer, wine or liquor must be removed or covered up, according to Heenan.

Utica souvenirs, memorabilia and programs will not be sold tonight; only NCAA items and gear will be allowed for sale.

One change that could serve as an inconvenience is the fact that the High School Boys Ice Hockey Championships are being held at the Aud this weekend.  Upon the conclusion of the last high school game this evening, the arena will need to be emptied before any fans for the Utica game can be allowed in.  This may also cause an issue when it comes to parking, whereas high school fans may not have driven away before fans of the Utica game arrive.  Utica College negotiated a schedule with the State Hockey Committee and set the start time of the NCAA game at 8:30, in hopes of leaving enough time to allow the high school fans to clear out.  There is a remote chance that the high school games could run late and that would mean fans of the NCAA game would be held up outside the aud until the arena is completely cleared out.

There is one major tradition that might have to be eliminated tonight and that is the trademark air horn [AIr Horn Sound Effect] which gets blows when Utica scores.  NCAA rules requires that if the sound is made when Utica scores, it must be blown when their opponent scores.  No decision has been announced as of yet whether or not the horn will be a part of tonight’s game.

Coach Heenan agreed that WIBX host Bill Keeler during a radio interview this week on the issue of the horn when Keeler added, “We just have to make sure Bowdoin doesn’t score.”

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