That only 50 undergraduates out of a total of 5800 can skate and play hockey at the expense and with the facilities of the University is deemed deplorable by a surprisingly large number of students those days, and a brief summing up of the situation is perhaps in order.
Two grievances are outstanding against the present system whereby 28 Varsity and 22 Freshman skaters can practice for a few hours three afternoons a week to the exclusion of all others, and under which the pre-war intramural schedule has been abandoned completely.
First, the H.A.A. decided some time ago that rather than charge students various sums for each individual sport it would charge a flat rate to include all sports. To this end, participation tickets now sell for $15.00 apiece and entitle the bearer to all H.A.A. buildings and facilities. Many disallusioned pucksters now want their money back.
Second, and from a more practical standpoint, good hockey teams are built by skating, not coaching. This is demonstrated, assuming all men to be created equal, by the consistant superiority of northerly prop schools and colleges and the number of Canadians in professional ranks. The Varsity could profit from a large number of undergraduates skating regularly from their Freshman year on.
Mr. Bingham Replies
In answer to all this, William J. Bingham '16, director of athletics, has made a carefully worded reply which, if not remedial, is at least explanatory. Before the war, the University used the Boston Skating Club rink at $35.00 an hour. During the war, with University support largely lacking, the Skating Club was forced to rely entirely on the public, and apparently it did very well. The rate is now $85.00 an hour, a sum which Mr. Bingham deems prohibitive, to say the least.
"They as much as told us to go to hell," he commented wistfully, "We were willing to go up eight or ten percent, but $85.00 an hour is just plain ridiculous." This, apparently, is very unsporting of the Skating Club, since the University is largely responsible for giving it its start originally.
Queried on the possibility of flooding the tennis courts, he replied that this generally yields only eight days of skating, that the water sinks into the ground too rapidly, and that the sun ruins the surface very quickly. However, he is considering the construction of a concrete surface suitable for flooding in the area shaded by the Stadium.
Such a project could not be realized before next year and more immediate ice is desirable. The Boston Arena, now used by the Varsity, is booked up solid for the winter, and other nearby rinks are owned by private clubs with memberships so swollen in these inflationary times that all University requests have been spurned.
A University Rink?
The issue seems to resolve itself into the construction of a University-owned indoor rink. Even though some charitable alumnus were kindly disposed toward the financing of such a project, however, Bingham asserts that the problem would be far from solved. The Hobey Baker Memorial Rink at Princeton costs $8-9000 annually in maintenance over and above the revenue taken in from renting the ice to the public and to nearby schools such as Lawrenceville. Furthermore, the H.A.A. would have to follow a policy on any rink of its own similar to its policy with regard to the Stadium, which is never rented to the public because of the adverse criticism that might arise from a tax-free institution competing on equal terms with other local tax-paying organizations. All in all, the cost would be tremendous.
Bingham asserted that his experts are considering the matter from every angle, but that no ice seems now available until next year. Meanwhile, polls in three of the eight Houses have shown unprecedented interest in hockey, and not infrequent contingents of 20 or more skaters have been going down to the Skating Club to play at their own expense at 6 o'clock in the morning, when reduced rates are in effect.
Prevalent among these enthusiasts is the feeling that the intramural hockey schedule will be played off this winter if they must finance it themselves and if they must play in the middle of the night.