THE HURON “H”: Huron’s distinctive “H” logo was designed by the Balfour ring company in the early 1970s, for a mere $100. The design has proven very popular, and is featured on the team’s uniforms, work out clothes and banners. “GO RATS!”
THE RIVER RATS: Huron’s very untraditional mascot, the River Rat, is a product of the era in which Huron was born, and the student spirit that defied authority’s effort to squelch it. After Huron split from Pioneer in 1969, the Pioneers coined the moniker “Sewer Rats” for their cross-town rivals, clearly not intended as an endearment – but some of the Huron students, adopted the modified title as their own. When the student body voted for their nickname, however, River Rats, Highlanders and Hawks couldn’t muster the necessary majority, even after a second vote. Eventually, ‘River Rats’ came to the fore. Then, after the 1974 summer football camp, which Tom Fagan introduced in his first year to unify a fractious team, an incident occurred which removed any doubt that may have remained regarding the school’s mascot. A running joke at Huron was that the school housed a rat when it opened, but fled due to overcrowding. While the football players ate lunch in the cafeteria during camp, a large rodent ambled into the room, prompting the team to chant: “The Rat is Back! The Rat is Back!” This became the rallying cry for the team, plastered all over bumperstickers and the yearbook. The students designed the mascot themselves as a silly, friendly cartoon caricature similar to Mickey Mouse, then changed it in the late 1980s to the now-familiar ‘Mean Rat’ look featured on their baseball hats and ‘tuuks.’ Previously the Hockey Rat was numberless, but to honor our departed friend, Mike Lapprich, it now wears a 26 on it’s sleeve.
HURON’S HOME JERSEYS: Designed with the help of the senior class of 2001, the home uniforms feature the trademark forest green sleeves with old gold trim, and the famous “H” in the middle and on the shoulders. The design is similar to the Michigan hockey team’s jerseys from the 1970s, when Coach Bacon would watch Michigan Hockey at Yost Arena. In 2014 the new sublimated jerseys kept the same design.
HURON’S AWAY JERSEYS: Keeping the basic design by the senior class of 2004, Huron’s away uniforms got an update in 2017, adding the hockey rat on the shoulders and “Huron” to the front. The lighter-weight sublimated jerseys were donated by a generous team supporter. The original 2004 jerseys are still used for summer and fall scrimmages.
HURON’S THIRD “BLACK” JERSEYS: A special third jersey donated as a lasting contribution by a generous patron. Designed by a local hockey jersey collector and Rat fan they combine the traditional flaming “H” and crossed “AA’s” on the shoulders with a totally new look “RIVER RATS” across the front from upper right to lower left. The black and gold of the jersey match the custom socks and the green in the letters and crests match the team’s green pants. The look is simple, yet strong and of course “tight”. The “blacks” are a player favorite used for key games.
THE “NET CHEER”: Beginning in 1981, the Huron hockey team has gathered around the net to shout a chant started by captain Ken Tomozawa (’82). Amazingly, the players passed it down, year by year, class by class, through the successive head coaches and teams. The players, however, swear each other to secrecy.
After the net cheer and introductions, the players would gather at the blue line to raise their sticks, huddle together and get pumped up for the game. This was a ritual started in the early ‘00s. It was similar to the way the Michigan football team gathers at the far side of the field after they run through the tunnel. Because of the new rules going into effect in 2011-12, the blue line huddle has been combined with the net cheer.
THE BLUE LINE HUDDLE:
Starting in the fall of 2000, the Rink Rats have taken great pride in the demeanor they demonstrate each night during the national anthem. In the past, they would form a long, straight line of Rink Rats along the blue line, helmets in their left hands and sticks in their rights, not moving a muscle until a moment or two after the song finished. Upon completion of the anthem, the team members would raise and then slap their sticks on the ice in unison. Beginning in 2011-12, the team now follows the same ritual, but it is only the starting line-
THE NATIONAL ANTHEM:
Starting in the fall of 2000, the Rink Rats have taken great pride in the demeanor they demonstrate each night during the national anthem. In the past, they would form a long, straight line of Rink Rats along the blue line, helmets in their left hands and sticks in their rights, not moving a muscle until a moment or two after the song finished. Upon completion of the anthem, the team members would raise and then slap their sticks on the ice in unison. Beginning in 2011-12, the team now follows the same ritual, but it is only the starting line-up that appears on the blue line for the anthem.
FIRST GOALS: If you see a Huron player ask the referee for the puck after a Huron goal, then hand it to one of the coaches for safe keeping, chances are it’s because one of his teammates just scored his first goal. After the game the coaches write the details of the goal on the puck with a permanent gold pen, and present it to the player while his teammates cheer his accomplishment. Many Huron players have scored at least one goal before graduating, most memorably Scotty McConnell’s goal with 3.3 seconds left on Senior Night, 2002.
SENIOR NIGHT: Celebrating the seniors’ last home game each year, players and their families are introduced on the ice during intermission.
THE ALUMNI GAME: Started in 1990 by Coach Bacon and Ken Tomozawa, the alumni game initially featured Huron alums versus their old friends from Pioneer, and has been played at Buhr Park, Yost and the Cube. But, since 2001, the Huron alums have kept the game “intrasquad,” and play only at the Cube, permitting the program’s many contributors to dress in the new locker room and see what their support has helped create.