Skating Through History: American International’s Intense Rivalries and Hockey Legacy

American International Hockey Team

As sports fans, we all love a good rivalry. The passion, intensity, and history between two teams can make for some of the most exciting and memorable moments in sports. For hockey fans, one of the most intense and historically significant rivalries is that of American International.

Founded in 1885, American International (AI) is one of the oldest and most prestigious American hockey teams. Throughout its long history, the team has faced off against some of the best in the business, making for some unforgettable matchups. Today, we take a look back at some of the most important and intense games in AI’s history and how these rivalries have shaped the team into what it is today.

The Rivalry with Boston University

As two of the top hockey programs in the Northeast, it’s no surprise that American International and Boston University (BU) have a long-standing rivalry. Over the years, the two teams have built an intense and competitive relationship, fueled by a deep desire to be the best.

In recent years, the rivalry between these two teams has only intensified. In the 2019–2020 season, BU and AI faced off three times, with each game ending in a one-goal difference. The final matchup saw AI come out on top, defeating BU 4-3 in a nail-biting game that had fans on the edge of their seats until the final buzzer rang.

The rivalry between AI and BU is not only about bragging rights. It also brings out the best in both teams, pushing them to constantly improve and strive for greatness. As BU head coach Albie O’Connell said after the 2019–2020 season, Whenever we play American International, it’s a battle. They play hard, and it brings out the best in our team.

The Turning Point: The Rivalry with Army

Throughout its history, AI has faced off against many formidable opponents. However, one rivalry stands out as a turning point for the team: the rivalry with the Army. In the early 2000s, AI was struggling, with a losing record and little success. That was until they faced off against the Army in a highly anticipated matchup that would change the trajectory of the team’s future.

The two teams battled back and forth, with neither able to pull ahead for much of the game. In the end, AI came out on top with a 5-4 victory, igniting a fire within the team. This win sparked a 10-game winning streak for AI, and they eventually went on to qualify for their first NCAA Division I tournament.

The rivalry with the Army symbolizes the resilience and determination of the AI team and how a single game can change the entire course of a season and even a program’s history.

A New Era: The Arrival of Bentley

In 1998, a new rivalry was born when Bentley University, located just 8 miles from American International, launched its own Division I hockey program. The two teams were now competing for the same talent pool and were eager to establish themselves as the top hockey program in the area.

The rivalry between AI and Bentley has seen some intense matchups over the years, with both teams pushing each other to new levels. And while Bentley may have had the upper hand in the early years, in recent times, AI has come out on top more often than not, solidifying itself as the top hockey program in the area.

The Battle for the Niagara Cup

One of the most significant and highly anticipated games of the season for AI is the annual battle for the Niagara Cup. This rivalry game, which takes place against another nearby Division I team, the Niagara Purple Eagles, is one of the oldest in AI’s history.

The Niagara Cup represents more than just a hockey game for AI. It symbolizes the pride and tradition of the team and the intense competition that comes with it. And while the two teams may have had their ups and downs, the rivalry between AI and Niagara has been going strong for over 30 years, with no signs of slowing down.

Final thoughts

Throughout its long history, American International has faced off against some of the best teams in college hockey. Each of these rivalries has played a crucial role in shaping the team into what it is today. These intense and competitive matchups not only bring out the best in each team but also create a sense of community and tradition amongst fans.

As we look ahead to the future, one thing is certain: American International‘s storied history and intense rivalries will continue to bring excitement and passion to the ice and remain a vital part of the team’s identity.


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