(Don't believe me? Attend a home game when the bulk of the students are on break, and then attend one when they're all there.)
The section drew some heat this week, after the text of a letter from UMD athletic director Bob Nielson was leaked. The letter chided the students for some offensive chants during the North Dakota series two weekends ago, and had the usual warnings about kicking people out or whatever.
I talked to Nielson last week, and it was clear he was taking the reports of offensive chants very seriously, so the letter wasn't really a surprise.
The letter got picked up by the local media, and the story has gotten some national run, regrettably. It's not good publicity for a group that's on point and usually entertaining without crossing a line that was clearly crossed during the UND series.
In response, members of the UMD student section have written an open letter to the school, UMD fans, and Duluth in general. The following is the letter, a copy of which was sent to me by a UMD student.
Dear UMD faculty, staff, fellow students, and the Duluth community
The UMD student section would like to apologize for our behavior during the Men's Hockey games on February 10th and 11th, 2012, against the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux. Some of the chants and cheers used were inappropriate. A number of the students involved have discussed the repercussions of our actions and agree that we crossed a line. As adults we recognize that it is important to take responsibility for our actions. In sports there is a fine line between cheering on your team and offending part of society. The UMD student section prides itself on being one of the loudest student sections in the WCHA. The cheers from this hockey series were meant to intimidate and poke fun at the UND nickname and hockey team, not the Sioux Tribe or any other members of the Native American community. As a student section, we are embarrassed that this situation has become more than just cheers at a hockey team. We apologize for offending any parties and wish to portray a better image, both for UMD and for Duluth.
Along with this apology to our school and fellow community members we would also like to add a pledge that these types of behaviors will not happen again. It is our responsibility to pass along what we have learned from this experience to both current and future UMD Men's Hockey fans.
The UMD Men's Hockey Student Section
Hats off to the kids for reacting properly. This weekend provides them one more opportunity to showcase themselves at their best.
Hopefully, this story can finally be put calmly to bed.