As Michigan State hockey prepares to open the regular season Friday night versus Bowling Green, the Munnsters, MSU's student section, are also gearing up for the upcoming season.
The student section got a trial run Saturday night during MSU's 4-3 exhibition loss to the U.S. National Team Development Program, as students dressed in white filled the northeast corner of Munn Ice Arena and took advantage of the night's free admission for students. The Munnsters also held a jersey pick up event last Tuesday, where they were able to watch practice and afterward meet the players and MSU's new coaching staff.
Like some of the other student section leaders across campus, the Munnsters have designated section leaders that have many responsibilities. They lead students in cheers, work with the coaching staff, as well as ensure that the crowd stays excited about the game. It’s a big honor to be chosen as a section leader.
Graduate student and section leader Emily Loder has always been a fan of hockey and knew that the Munnsters was something she was going to participate in while studying at Michigan State in her undergrad.
“It essentially just means that (we) sort of get the atmosphere going and then keep it going throughout the game," Loder said. "We lead the section in chants, we have cowbells, flags that we wave around and use to really pump up the departments. Basically, just getting everyone engaged and keeping everyone engaged in the game."
Mechanical engineering senior Scott Fingeroth is another section leader who fell in love with hockey when he was younger. That was what led him to become a Munnster and get more involved with the section leaders at the time.
“I started to really become a true, true fan," Fingeroth said. "And I always tried to go to games."
Team staff members even understand the importance of having the Munnsters as a means to show the players how much the school and its students support them. It was a noticeable absence from Munn Ice Arena during the 2020-21 season before the Munnsters made their triumphant return last fall.
“Our team relies on great product in the stands and then to have our students there cheering them on, no matter what numbers are on the scoreboard, they feed off that energy, they respond to it," Director of Marketing and Fan Engagement for Michigan State Athletics Meagan Hogan, who helps oversee the Munnsters, said. "So, to be in this position and help lend into what that experience is for our students is incredibly important to me, and it just makes the experience for everybody that much better.”
But for Fingeroth, participating in the Munnsters goes beyond just singing the fight song and pounding on the glass every Friday and Saturday night.
“It's a place where we're all kind of able to be ourselves and do things that maybe if we weren't in this section wouldn't be possible,” Fingeroth said.
Loder agrees, citing the same sense of community driven by members of the Munnsters.
"It's just really cool to be able to elevate the gameday experience," Loder said. "I don't even know what word to describe it, but it's just incredible to be connected with everyone around you. We've all been getting really, really excited. It's just that feeling of community."
Memberships for the Munnsters 2022-23 season are already sold out. With a cost of $112, Munnsters receive admission into 18 home games and an MSU hockey jersey. Single-game tickets are available for students online for $7 or at the door for $10.
“I would just encourage folks, like I said, whether it's students or fans, to come out this year," Hogan said. "We've got a really, really exciting group together. Our coaching staff has done phenomenal things already and we're really excited to see our brand and our team continue to grow.”
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