Cheering on

Dawg Pound welcomes new leader

The Ferris student section, also known as the Dawg Pound, will cheer on the Bulldogs under new cheer leadership this season.
The Ferris student section, also known as the Dawg Pound, will cheer on the Bulldogs under new cheer leadership this season. Photo courtesy of Katie Tobak

The Ferris hockey student section will be under new leadership this year as the Dawg Pound has a new section leader in Alex Colville.

This Ferris senior has been the “right-hand man” of Joel Root, the former section leader of the Dawg Pound, for the last couple years. Root graduated last Spring and left his position to Colville.

“Last year, Joel was about to graduate so there was a void,” Colville said. “Me [and some other members] got together and they said, ‘You know what, why don’t we have Alex run it this year?’”

In years passed, Ewigleben Ice Arena has been filled with deafening chants from the student section. Their energy levels were always high with bleachers packed. Despite a new face to guide it, the Dawg Pound will continue to bring the energy.

Colville and fellow section members are working on ways to get the crowd even more involved.

“We’re doing a lot more interactive stuff with the student section,” Colville said. “In the past there was a lot of downtime and people texting. We’re doing a lot more movement with the student section so they’re not just sitting around.”

From the beginning of the game, opponents coming to Ferris feel the crowd. When the stadium lights go off and the colored lights put a show on the ice, the Dawg Pound comes alive with the arrival of their Bulldogs. Once the puck is dropped the crowd lets loose and the chaotic atmosphere is set.

A ruckus home crowd is known to be an energizer to their team in any sport. The Dawg Pound is no exception.

Head coach Bob Daniels said, “When the crowd gets into the game it’s like having a sixth guy out there. The crowd can get the guys going.”

Though the Dawg Pound creates an atmosphere suitable for a sport like hockey, some chants have been seen by others as crude.

When the opponent’s starting line-up is announced, each name is heckled. First the crowd hears the opposing player’s name, then the Dawg Pound responds with, “You suck…”

Everyone that’s been to a Ferris hockey home game knows the rest of that line is a little obscene. The same problem comes when the opposing goalie goes out of the crease to make a play.

These are at the extreme end of the Dawg Pound’s crude chants but most of the chants are typical of most sports events like the basic “D-Fence” chant or “let’s go Bulldogs.” Colville says he and the other section members are “very conscious” of the language and understand that some may have a problem with it. However, he believes the Dawg Pound has “toned it down a bit” in recent years.

“I understand where they’re coming from,” Colville said. “When people bring their kids to the games they’re hoping for a family environment, but it’s nice once and a while to just be able to let loose. There’s a time when the student section seems to be a little rowdy and they let loose. I understand it might sound vulgar at times, but it’s not all the time.”

Colville said that they are working on using the more vulgar chants less this year. Some will be removed altogether. The decision on which chants selected to be removed will be determined in a meeting scheduled at a later date.

What is certain is new chants will be heard throughout the stadium this year, under the direction of a new leader.