In the winter, hockey season begins in the “Barn.” The Deerfield Academy ice hockey rink is full of traditions for both players and fans.
Courtney Morgan ’16, one of the boys varsity hockey team captains, explained that playing in the barn is “special because we think about the people who have come before us and the people who are coming after us, too.”
Morgan added, “A home game, where the barn is packed, and a lot of people are there, and it’s loud, I think it pumps you up more. I know 80’s night in the Barn was one of my best games last season because you know everyone is watching, so you just want to play well for your whole school.” Jenna Greenbaum ’17, a member of the girls varsity hockey team, shared a similar outlook saying, “It’s our house, our home. We want to protect it.”
The Barn will be renovated within the next few years. Administrators expect that a renovated, more energy-efficient Barn, with a field house above it, will be ready by the fall of 2019.
Greenbaum said of the renovation, “I think getting a new rink will be really nice because we’ll have new locker rooms, a new rink obviously… I think having a new facility will be really good for the program.”
Morgan added, “I know [the new Barn] may look new and modern, but I think one thing that I want is to still have some old traditions.” 80’s Night, exciting for both fans and players, is something that many students, Morgan included, want to continue in the new Barn.
However, many students also believe that certain aspects of the “Barn culture” need to be changed. Many students have voiced their discontent about the tradition that only senior boys are “allowed” in the top row of the stands and that girls are supposed to stand against the glass.
Valentina Connell ’16 said, “I think it goes all the way back to it being an all boys school, and how seniority allowed you to get higher up on the stands. As girls came in, I think students didn’t want to disrupt that tradition of elevation or hierarchy.”
Connell is among the many students unhappy with this tradition, and she is working with Philip Goss ’16 and this year’s Captain Deerfield, Charlie Carpenter ’16, to get rid of the gender divide. According to Connell, they hope to have “senior girls along with senior guys on the top row of the bleachers. This way, there is still some kind of hierarchy, due to your grade level, but at least everyone has a chance to get up to the top.”
Another aspect of the culture that many students hope to see changed is the relative attendance at boys’ games versus girls’ games. Connell said, “Boys varsity hockey games always get hyped up, like whiteouts or 80’s night. Those themes garner a lot of support, and I feel like for girl’s games, we don’t have those sort of fan traditions in place.” Connell thinks Deerfield should implement traditions for girl’s games to draw more support for female players.
Greenbaum said, “We do not get even close to as many fans as the boys do.” She added, “When people are there, you have a real drive to play, like you’re playing for the people,” but “we never really have that big of a crowd.” She hopes a new rink, and renewed effort to attract fans to girls’ games, will change the culture.
As the rink gets renovated, fans and players alike hope that it will bring about a new Barn culture as well, a culture that still has all the glory and excellence that Deerfield hockey prides itself on, but also brings about a fairer, more equal experience for fans and players alike.