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The Laws of Icing


D.S., 2L

A few weeks ago, I had my first law teaching experience. No, I am not a teaching assistant for one of our brilliant professors (though I am applying to be one next year so maybe I’ll be yours!).  No, I do not tutor other students.  And no, I do not teach local high school students constitutional law as part of the fantastic Marshall-Brennan Moot Court Competition (though I did get to judge it this year, and those high school competitors, under the guidance of my YLS classmates, did amazing and should dominate nationals).  Instead, I was teaching my fellow classmates laws I learned on a rink as a kid – laws such as those against icing, offside, highsticking, crosschecking, and boarding.  It was the first day of Spring Break, and Yale Law School was at the hockey rink.

Here at Yale, we are fortunate to have one of the top hockey teams in the nation.  The Bulldogs have won their conference (the ECAC) two of the past three years and for much of this year were ranked #1 in the country (and never worse than #3).  Of course, everyone loves a winner, so those of us not heading to tropical destinations for spring break headed instead to Ingalls Rink, or “The Yale Whale,” (designed by famous architect Eero Saarinen, who also drew up the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Dulles Airport in Washington, and the University of Chicago Law School) to watch their Bulldogs take on the St. Lawrence Saints in the ECAC Quarterfinals.

As someone who grew up playing hockey, I couldn’t be happier to see my classmates out supporting the nation’s top team with me.  Some of them knew little about hockey, many of them had never been to a college game before, and all of them could have been doing something else for their spring break.  Almost none of them had been Yale undergrads.  Yet, in less than two years, they developed a loyalty and a love for their Bulldogs.  Although loyalty to our undergraduate schools still takes precedence (indeed, some of the hockey fans were coming from the big Harvard-Princeton basketball game), we have all developed a strong love for the Elis.

Unfortunately, the Bulldogs lost that game in an overtime heartbreaker.  But the law students would be back at the Whale the next day as the Bulldogs evened the series, and for a third day of Spring Break as our team advanced to the conference semis.  They followed along online as the Elis won the conference championship in Atlantic City, and then piled into cars to head to nearby Bridgeport and watch the #1 overall seed beat Air Force in overtime in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tourney.

The next day, the season ended in heartbreaking fashion for Yale, just one game away from the Frozen Four.  The final game was marred by referee mistakes, and no one protested louder than the law students (perhaps the only time YLS students were unanimously against judicial activism!).  And you can bet the law students will head back out there next year to cheer our Bulldogs on towards the national championship. Will you join us?