I don’t know about y’all, but when I think about the sports climate in the South, hockey isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind. I say that as somebody who grew up about 20 miles outside of Nashville in a family that cultivated a love of the game from a young age; hockey just isn’t part of the southern identity, at least not in a broader sense. Not yet.
Still, it’s not like hockey isn’t talked about or beloved by a sect of people in this part of the country. Many fans (including yours truly) will openly admit that our sport of choice is niche, but will point out that it commands a die-hard following unlike the other members of the “big four” North American sports. If you like hockey, chances are you love hockey. I want to share that feeling with this Auburn community, because in reality you guys already have a team you can root for.
For those who don’t know, Auburn does, in fact, have a hockey team, albeit a club one. This club plays in a league called the SECHC (Southeastern Collegiate Hockey Conference) and calls the Columbus Civic Center home. The program has a tumultuous history, one that is almost entirely unrecorded in any sort of written memory. Coverage of it has been sparse in the best of times and nonexistent for the most part.
I’m here to make sure people know they exist. I want the Plains to be rich with people who are proud supporters of this team.
My name is Eamon Smith. I’ve covered the NHL for a little over a year now for two different sister sites here at SB Nation (Broad Street Hockey and On The Forecheck), but I’m also an Auburn student. I write for the Plainsman, work with WEGL 91.1 FM, and am an ardent supporter of Auburn athletics. I also happen to be the first person who wants to cover Auburn’s hockey scene since... well, ever.
Every week, I’ll be providing something, however trivial or in-depth, about Auburn’s still-nascent ice hockey program. Usually these sorts of columns and articles would be based upon a combination of speculation, hockey analytics, and general nonsense, like my work elsewhere has been. However, when it comes to covering the Auburn Tigers’ affairs on the rink, I’m taking a different approach.
I have complete access to what’s going on inside the program, because I myself am a student and am part of the program. This will not stop me from being critical of mistakes the team will make, any more than being Auburn fans prevented people from ripping Gus Malzahn. It simply means that, in every sense of the word, I’m the #insiderr that everybody jokes about on Twitter.
Smitty’s Scrum will contain every scrap of worthwhile information, every meaningful storyline, and a comprehensive encapsulation of the team’s season throughout its run (and long may it reign). If you want to keep up with Auburn hockey, this is probably the best place, and for now the only place, to do so. I hope y’all enjoy reading about, learning about, and watching this hockey season as much as I did when I had my formative NHL experiences. It’s a spectacular game.
Stay tuned for more this week. War Eagle.