The Geneseo Athletics Department began the New Year by introducing a new policy for the Ice Knights program. Geneseo students are now required to pick up a ticket in order to attend an Ice Knights game at the Ira S. Wilson arena, which started on Saturday Jan. 21.
The new ticket policy is a progressive step for the athletics department. With one of the highest attendance rates for a Division III hockey program, this policy allows for the athletics department to keep track of how many students attend for both statistical and safety reasons. Liam Welsh, associate director of athletics, expressed enthusiasm while explaining this policy.
“For the first couple games of the year, particularly the first game when Geneseo played Cortland, we were close to being over capacity in the arena,” he said. “For the safety of our fans, the students, athletes and coaches, we needed to figure out a way to track attendance.”
By determining the maximum capacity of the Ira S. Wilson arena, the athletic department will have a set number of tickets to print for each game going forward, according to Welsh.
While this seems like it may negatively impact the number of students and local fans from attending games, it will likely do just the opposite. The goal is to make sure that no student is ever turned away from an Ice Knights game, Welsh said, and the ultimate goal behind this new policy is safety.
“We want to make it as easy as possible for students to pick up a ticket,” Welsh said.
Tickets will be available at the ticket window in the basement of the MacVittie College Union a week before the game. If a student is unable to pick up a ticket during the week but would like to pick one up when they arrive at the game, they can do so at the door of the rink. It is highly encouraged to pick up a ticket during the week, however, as it guarantees a seat at the game.
“We’re trying to create a safe and conducive game environment for everyone who is in attendance,” Welsh said.
For example, there are often students who end up sitting in the aisle, which creates fire hazards and other safety hazards for all the fans.
The athletics department determined that a total of 1,100 students attended the Ice Knights’ home game against the SUNY Oswego Lakers on Saturday Jan. 21. As the first game requiring tickets, this number gives the athletics department a baseline number of students, to which they will continuously compare their data throughout the season.
This ticket policy will not be used for other Geneseo sports, as they do not have a high enough attendance rate for this to be required.
Tickets are available now for the upcoming Ice Knights home game on Saturday Jan. 28 against the SUNY Morrisville Mustangs.