The BG hockey team hosts Notre Dame at the Ice Arena Friday and Saturday, with both games starting at 7:05 p.m. I attended the Tuesday press conference of coach Chris Bergeron, and I was struck by a comment he made about Notre Dame ...
Chris Bergeron was talking about Notre Dame, which is ranked fifth in the country in the latest USCHO poll. And this is what he said about the Fighting Irish ...
"They have size, depth and talent, and they compete," Bergeron said. "But they also believe they are one of the top teams in the country, if not the top team in the country. That's not something you can teach. ... The young team they had last year is now a veteran team. They are not veteran in terms of years [in school], but when you go to a Frozen Four you learn a lot about yourselves. They didn't lose a lot -- not to say the seniors they lost weren't a big part of that team. I'm saying that they return a lot.
"But I believe their belief is one of their majors strengths. They believe they are going to win every game, and with their lineup they should believe that. That's something we're fighting to teach. ... It's easy to see [how good] they are on paper. But that belief, that focus, is something that is very difficult to distill."
That's when I followed up with this question: "Isn't that belief a 'Chicken or the Egg' situation ... You have to have success to believe, and you have to believe to have success?"
"Absolutely," Bergeron said. "We want our people to believe that, when they put on that Bowling Green jersey, they are putting it on to win that night. When the Red Wings put their jerseys on, they assume they are going to win. Assume may be a bad word, but that's [the feeling]: we're going to win because we're the Detroit Red Wings. That's the belief we want to have here.
"I've had some personal experience with that, with watching that belief grow. People ask me, 'At what point did you know you had [that belief], but I'm sure I still don't know. Ten years later, we had it; when we put our jerseys on, we felt we were going to win. It's a constant, every-day focus.
"What are we doing that other guys aren't doing? Nothing. These are guys from the same leagues, who grew up together in the same areas of the world. So why, when we put our jerseys on, don't we believe that we're going to win? I'm not saying we don't, but we're a work in progress in that way. They are more established at that.
"We're trying to establish our belief through winning games and positive things happening. It was very difficult to establish that when we won three league games and 10 overall, and most of the feedback was negative. We hope that our start has developed some belief and some expectations. But we still have a ways to go with that, there's no doubt about it."
That is something to watch for this weekend ... both from Bowling Green and from Notre Dame.