Mac Stone: Ice Hockey
Who doesn’t love hockey? It would be the perfect addition to Northwestern sports for both men’s and women’s. They already have the perfect arena in Welsh-Ryan and would have great competition against teams like Wisconsin, Notre Dame and Minnesota. Not to mention that the Big Ten is a stacked conference when it comes to hockey, making for plenty of fun matchups throughout the season. I’m not even a huge hockey fan, but Northwestern is built for it. Northwestern could have some great jerseys too, and that’s a purchase I’d definitely make.
Jackson Gordwin: Men’s Lacrosse
When you look at some of the top ranked men’s lacrosse teams in the NCAA, you will see the likes of Virgina, Duke, and Maryland. Look a little bit further down the list, and the Big Ten’s trio of contenders in Johns Hopkins, Rutgers and Ohio State pop up. One University that you will not find on that list is Northwestern. The ‘Cats would be an absolutely perfect addition to the Men’s Lacrosse game. The NU women’s lacrosse team has been absolutely killing it for years, so why not let the men get a shot at this? Lacrosse is also rapidly growing across the country and adding the Northwestern men would help spread the game of lacrosse to the Midwestern and Western regions of the country.
Daniel Olinger: Track and Field
You see those 400-meter hurdles finals in the Olympics? Those races were freaking awesome and I want there to be more of them. Enter the Northwestern track and field team. I know that the ‘Cats would struggle early on and maybe for the entirety of the program’s existence, but I want the motivation to be more of a track and field fan with the built-in reason that I’m covering the sport. Watching people move super fast is unbelievably fun. Make it happen NU.
Jacob Brown: E-Sports
You would think a school nicknamed “Nerdwestern” would’ve jumped on the video game bandwagon earlier than later, but here we are. Kyler Murray and Bronny James were recently on the cover of Sports Illustrated, not for their on-field performances, but rather for their involvement with e-sports group Faze Clan. The Call of Duty league is sponsored by Mountain Dew, the US Army and USAA Insurance. There’s money here, and Northwestern already has an e-sports club. Get them jerseys, install some routers and have them play live in Wilson Fieldhouse while you project it to the video board. A lot more students will show up to support the team than you’d think. There’s plenty of NU students who play video games but don’t live and breathe football. Connect the idea of competitive video games with Northwestern Athletics, and you may be able to pique their interest in attending other events.
Ben Chasen: Ice Hockey
It’s hockey. It’s always been hockey. C’mon now. This is supposedly Chicago’s Big Ten Team. I am a Los Angeles Kings fan, which means I’ve seen Blackhawks legends like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane sink my Stanley Cup hopes more than a few times. But even given that association with Chicago’s NHL franchise, I find myself fascinated and impressed by the Chicagoland hockey market and scene. There’s real interest here, and while a lot of Big Ten teams with large fanbases in the area sponsor hockey programs, some big ones like Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska do not.
Speaking of the NU Athletics moniker, you wanna really become Chi-town’s Big Ten Team? Pick up hockey, invest in the program heavily, recruit the talent-laden area in Chicago and its suburbs hard and reap the benefits of building a fanbase outside of that which has already been established. The market is there. The arena (Welsh-Ryan) is there. The talent is in the area and waiting to be tapped into. All Derrick Gragg has to do is raise some money to get things started and pull the trigger.
Didi Jin: Cycling
(To preface, ice hockey would have been my choice, but just to make things interesting, this is my answer).
I didn’t know how cycling races worked before the Olympics. I couldn’t have told you the difference between a time trial and a road race, nor the name of a single cyclist that is not Lance Armstrong. But after watching this heart-stopping finish in the men’s road race in the Tokyo Olympics, I’m officially hooked. Is the addition of a Northwestern cycling team a realistic possibility? No. But a person can dream.
Jack Izzo: Ice Hockey
I barely watch ice hockey. I can probably hold a conversation about the NHL for two minutes before I start sounding like I don’t know anything. But I would absolutely get into hockey if Northwestern played it. The Big Ten already sponsors ice hockey, with Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin sponsoring men’s teams, and Notre Dame as an affiliate member. This would be a very tough conference to start in, but I think it would be very neat. Also, Northwestern hockey jerseys. I know you can get them at Campus Gear, but I want official ones.
Isaac Diaz: USA Weightlifting
Watching the Olympic weightlifters clean and jerk almost triple my weight is something crazy to see and think about. However, weightlifting is not really seen across the collegiate level. Some neighboring schools such as Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin-Whitewater compete at the NCAA club level, and though participation of the sport may be small, there has been some momentum to push for more collegiate level athletes in the sport. For women, the USAW has been hosting their own championship on certain college campuses. The participating athletes have the opportunity to participate in the Pan Americans, World Championships or even the Olympics. It’s always nice to see more Wildcats in the Olympics, and this could be another feather in that cap.
Bradley Locker: Men’s Volleyball
In and around the Midwest, there are a multiplicity of men’s volleyball teams, including Ohio State, Loyola Chicago and Penn State. Additionally, several other Power Five programs field units such as BYU, USC, UCLA, Stanford, Harvard and Princeton. In spite of other major schools’ presence on the hardwood, Northwestern does not possess a men’s volleyball squad.
Since 2017, NU’s women’s volleyball team has performed around a .500 clip, including going 3-3 in Welsh-Ryan Arena a year ago. Why not add to the excitement and increasing the number of events in the new stadium by establishing a men’s volleyball team?
If some Wildcat athletes from other sports wanted to partake in some inaugural volleyball games, here are some possible starters: Maxwell Skidmore (football, 6-foot-7); Matthew Nicholson (basketball, 7-feet flat); Ryan Gridley (swimming; 6-foot-4); and Jack Sauser (baseball, 6-foot-6). And, truthfully, who would contribute a greater infusion of energy than Joe Spivak? Opposing liberos would be doomed.
Gavin Dorsey: Ice Hockey
I considered for a moment picking something else to have a better variety of answers, but there is nothing out there that comes remotely close to hockey. As someone who lives in North Dakota, where there is nothing else except hockey, I’ve seen first-hand how an entire town can rally behind a collegiate ice team. Hockey games become a weekly tradition for families, date nights and students, and the surrounding area comes alive just as much as a CFB Saturday.
I may have yet to experience a Ryan Field gameday, but personally there has been no experience more electrifying than a game-winning goal in hockey. One second you’re locked in on the game, watching the athletes skate around the arena and shoulder-check each other into the boards while attempting to gain control of the puck. The next, the entire crowd jumps up at once and roars, the train horns start blaring and you begin chanting the tune of “Chelsea Dagger” as you all shame the opposing goalie. The ritual of course ends with the school’s fight song.
An example of my (eight-time national champion) hometown team included:
Michael Barthelemy: Rugby
Northwestern already has a rugby club, but it currently plays at the Division II level. Instead of an entirely new program, why not just bump Northwestern up into the Big Ten for rugby? The resemblance to football will suck in the NU faithful, and the differing collection of rules and scoring will build Evanston into a rugby town.
The Midwest is a pipeline for offensive linemen and wrestlers, which is a comparable body type to a rugby player. Northwestern could recruit locally and be able to send out a strong squad in a top conference.
William Karmin: Ice Hockey
I hate to follow the rest of the pack here, but ice hockey is the obvious choice. As my fellow writers have mentioned, Northwestern now has the facilities to entertain the idea. Dr. Derrick Gragg has a solid reputation for his fundraising ability, so I would not be shocked if he considered the idea of an ice hockey team once he completes the long-awaited Ryan Field renovations.