January 22, 2023 | at the FISU Winter University Games
One of the most distinctive traditions of American college athletics is having a music band that turns up the crowd.
At Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York, the Pep Band as it is known is one of the foremost traditions, and with the FISU World University Games in the city, they spared no expense.
The team played at the Team USA hockey games held at the Cheel Arena institution throughout the 2023 Lake Placid tournament.
The origin of the motivating team is murky at best. The custom of musical accompaniment to sports and entertainment events dates back to antiquity, when the Greeks played music at the ancient Olympic Games in honor of the goddess Adelphi. However, the etymology of the term is known and dates back to the late 19th centuryp and early 20p age. Pep is an abbreviation of the word “pepper”, which refers to the strong flavor of this spice.
Joe DeSena is the president of the band’s association. He convenes a group of about 65 student musicians who make noise and play popular tunes at every ice hockey game.
“Well, let me tell you, there’s a lot of email. I check my inbox almost every hour. But you know, I had some really great predecessors who put in a lot of time to make my time with the band as enjoyable as it could possibly be for me. So I want to do the same for those kids and I hope someone will take my place and do the same.”
Clarkson has a deep-rooted tradition in ice hockey. Appearing in the men’s NCAA tournament 22 times, the Golden Knights are the favorites of the people of Potsdam. Thirty former players have graduated from the National Hockey League and six have represented the United States at the Olympics.
Caroline Moreau is a fourth year civil engineering student. She plays the flute in the band, and the tradition of her favorite band is perhaps the kindest form of sabotage.
“One of our favorite things is when both teams go out on the ice, we go down and we have the mark. Then we try to get the opposing team to high five us to distract them during the warm-up.”
Eric LaFerriere is in his second year of aerospace and mechanical engineering. Despite the fact that his school hosts the best college athletes in the world, he prefers to present an old tradition rather than try something new.
“We want many of them to be the same. I think instead of chanting “Let’s Go Tech” we need to figure out what else we can shout (chuckles) so for these teams from all over the world.