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A Union hockey fan indeed

Man’s dad was right: ‘Union would be OK’

Friday, April 18, 2014
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Jennifer Murray, left, and Mark Goldman applaud while listening to speeches at a rally for the Union College hockey team on Thursday.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber
Jennifer Murray, left, and Mark Goldman applaud while listening to speeches at a rally for the Union College hockey team on Thursday.

— Mark Goldman got to the Union hockey national championship at City Hall celebration a little after 12 Thursday afternoon, more than four hours ahead of time. But that was a mistake.

“I was actually going to get here at 9, but I overslept,” said the 38-year-old from Schenectady. “I’m glad I did. Nobody was here.”

That’s what he does, arrive early, whether it be back in the day for a “Star Wars” movie or getting in line for WWE tickets. “Get there early, get the best,” is his mantra.

Union's season

The season record of the NCAA champion Union Dutchmen.

10/11 T Union 3, Bowling Green 3

10/12 W Union 5, Bowling Green 2

10/18 L Lake Superior State 6, Union 5 (OT)

10/19 L Lake Superior State 3, Union 2

10/25 T Union 2, Connecticut 2

11/1 W Union 7, Dartmouth 2

11/2 W Union 4, Harvard 2

11/8 L Colgate 5, Union 3

11/9 W Union 3, Cornell 0

11/15 W Union 4, RPI 3

11/16 W Union 4, RPI 1

11/30 W Union 4, Penn State 3

12/1 W Union 5, Penn State 4

12/6 W Union 3, Princeton 0

12/7 W Union 6, Quinnipiac 4

12/11 W Union 3, Dartmouth 2

12/13 W Union 4, St. Cloud State 1

12/14 T Union 3, St. Cloud State 3

1/10 L Quinnipiac 2, Union 1

1/11 W Union 3, Princeton 0

1/17 W Union 3, New Hampshire 1

1/18 W Union 3, New Hampshire 1

1/24 W Union 4, Harvard 3

1/25 L RPI 2, Union 1 (Mayor’s Cup at Times Union Center)

1/31 L St. Lawrence 2, Union 1

2/1 W Union 4, Clarkson 3

2/7 W Union 4, Brown 3

2/8 W Union 5, Yale 3

2/14 W Union 4, Cornell 1

2/15 T Union 4, Colgate 4

2/21 W Union 5, Clarkson 0

2/22 W Union 6, St. Lawrence 2

2/28 W Union 2, Yale 0

3/1 W Union 3, Brown 0

3/14 W Union 3, Dartmouth 0 (ECAC Hockey Tournament quarterfinal)

3/15 W Union 4, Dartmouth 2 (ECAC Hockey Tournament quarterfinal)

3/21 W Union 5, Cornell 2 (ECAC Tournament semifinal at Herb Brooks Arena, Lake Placid)

3/22 W Union 5, Colgate 2 Lake Placid (ECAC Tournament championship at Herb Brooks Arena, Lake Placid)

3/28 W Union 5, Vermont 2 (NCAA East Regional semifinal at Webster Bank Arena, Bridgeport, Conn.)

3/29 W Union 3, Providence 1 (NCAA East Regional championship at Webster Bank Arena, Bridgeport, Conn.)

4/10 W Union 5, Boston College 4 (NCAA Frozen Four semifinal at Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia)

4/12 W Union 7, Minnesota 4 (NCAA Frozen Four championship at Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia)

Way back in the day, when he was a kid growing up in Niskayuna and his father, Norman Goldman, took him to Dutchmen games, there was no need to arrive early at what is now Messa Rink.

“I remember as a kid laying down on the bleachers because there was so much space,” he said.

Before Norman Goldman died six years ago, he told his son, “Union would be OK.” The son was more than skeptical.

“From Division III powerhouse to a Division I doormat to now, I never thought I would be sitting at this parade,” he said, touching the Union scarf around his neck. “I wasn’t sure if they would even win a playoff series.”

And Goldman, like others, wondered about this team that semi-stumbled out of the gate with a mediocre record through five games (2-2-1).

Later came the Jan. 25 “Brawl Game” at the Times Union Center, a 2-1 loss that resulted in suspensions for coach Rick Bennett and others after a post-game mini-melee. Union lost its next game, too.

“At that time I wasn’t sure if Bennett was going to keep his job,” Goldman said. “If he had hit a coach, that would have been it.”

He didn’t.

“They started winning,” Dave Allen of Scotia said, sitting next to Goldman right behind velvet ropes of the team’s red carpet, “and not losing.”

At all. The Dutchmen (32-6-4) were unbeaten down the stretch: 16-0-1, including wins in their last 12 games, en route to their first national title.

“I actually cried, when they won,” said Goldman, who watched the title game from Philadelphia in a Rotterdam bar. “People were taking pictures of me.”

Behind Goldman stood his longtime girlfriend. Jennifer Murray didn’t start out as a hockey fan. She is now.

“I’m hard-core now,” she said. “In for life.” Goldman smiled. This was no day for tears.

Soon Jay Street started filling up. The team arrived on firetrucks to cheers. Where one man sat on a folding chair a few hours before, a thousand people roared.

Goldman, who once was a kid who could lie out on the bleachers of a half-empty arena, could barely move.

 
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