When you grow up in the 719, rooting for the Colorado College Tigers is instilled in you from a very young age. Colorado College hockey and Colorado Springs are one and the same. You don’t have to be a hockey expert to understand that the rivalry between CC and the University of Denver is like none other. Nor do you have to have an actual reason to hate DU when you live in Colorado Springs…you just do.
I was raised by avid CC season ticket holders. I attended countless games, created hundreds of memories at the World Arena, and even dressed up as a CC hockey player for Halloween in fourth grade. Every year we always looked forward to the CC-DU weekends. Whether the game was hosted by the Tigers or you made the trip up to Magness, it was a series we couldn’t miss.
The arenas would be filled top to bottom with Black and Gold contrasting with the Crimson and Gold. Both student sections were full, energized, and awaiting the excitement. There was always an air of respect and admiration as both teams would take the ice for warm-ups. Once the puck dropped, chaos would unleash as thousands of fans were joined together, united by passion.
While CC and DU hate each other, the passion derived from both programs and communities is the dynamic which makes the rivalry unique and entertaining. The overwhelming pride and devotion generated from the ice to the religious fans sporting sweaters in the stands is the result of a historical rivalry over 300 games in the making.
I remember when the Testwuide brothers played, giving the rivalry an even more personal appeal. The legendary split jersey their mom wore in support of J.P., who would go on to be a DU captain and his younger brother Mike who skated for the Tigers. Rare and special occurrences like the Testwuide connection feed into the significance of the rivalry to each fan.
For the first time in 18 years, I’m on the other side of the rivalry. I’m no longer wearing the classy, “Can’t spell dumb without DU” shirt (yes unfortunately, I did own one), I’m no longer chanting “sieve” while “Get Ready For This” plays following a CC goal, this year and forever on, I am a Pioneer proudly supporting the Crimson and Gold.
While I’m recognized as a traitor by all of my former Tiger-fan friends, I couldn’t be happier with my decision. My parents have gladly converted their loyalty to the Pioneers; out of respect for the phenomenal institution I’ve chosen to attend and their love of hockey.
The rivalry is much more personal now than ever before. For me, the clash represents my past, present, and future. Having experienced the matchup from both sides, it’s thrilling to be part of an event that combines thousands of dedicated supporters, all with different feelings, unified by one common interest: the love for the sport of hockey played by two historically phenomenal programs.
Nonetheless, there is a nice ring to “CC Sucks.”